Steve Kapaun

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Talent Development Driven By The Business

Talent Development Driven By The Business

Business publications have been reporting on the recent announcement of Dell Computers’ plans to purchase EMC, the software, storage and professional services company. Recently, TrainingPros had the privilege to have EMC’s Ed Bell, senior manager, Education Technology; and Tom Clancy, vice president, Education on our Learning Insights Radio program in Boston. I came away from those conversations with the following lessons learned:

Learning leaders need to ask “what-if” questions.

L&D leaders at EMC discovered that sales professionals were using their smartphones to capture video and share best practices. The people in the trenches wanted to share best practices among themselves so they leveraged the technology at hand to produce their own training and performance support content.

The L&D team listened to what was going on the field and asked these questions:

  • What if we ask our top sales people in the field to capture video of them pitching a complex sale?
  • What if we train the sales force how to create higher quality videos?
  • What if we create a content management system that can host all the video and make it easily accessible for the entire sales force so they don’t have to email the videos around?
  • What if we create the capability in the system to report the number of views for each video (sounds a bit like YouTube, right?) to recognize contributions and quality of the videos (sound like informal recognition)?

These are all questions EMC asked and have delivered to the business to support their sales professionals’ L&D needs. Remember, asking “what-if” questions also inherently means soliciting input from our customers, i.e., our internal buyers of L&D services.

Learning solutions need to fit the culture of the business and the workforce.

EMC sells highly complex data storage solutions. EMC is a technology-driven culture. Providing a learning solution that required the use of their own storage devices and creating a YouTube-like delivery platform for accessing video-based learning mirrored the culture.

The business needs to own talent development programs.

Too often, L&D professionals let their egos get in the way by proposing and dictating learning solutions to their internal customers. When this happens, the learning organization owns the learning solution instead the business. As a result, the business may not buy in or embrace the learning solution. With EMC, the business totally bought into the video-based learning solution that was proposed by the talent development organization. As a result, adoption was quick, and ROI was realized.

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TrainingPros President Steve Kapaun serves clients throughout all markets and manages the company’s team of Relationship Managers. He has experience working with multiple sectors, in particular the professional services, retail, and consumer products industries. Steve’s areas of greatest expertise in the learning & development arena are change management, training strategy, and project management.

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Guest Friday, 22 September 2017