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Professional development programs with established processes and a plan, need to be in place to assist employees with their performance goals and job responsibilities. Training provides support to staff through any type of organizational change, good or bad. By this definition then, training is always needed, and that's when a continuous learning philosophy comes into focus.

Often, as a company becomes successful, the infrastructure to support it begins to falter. It's important to maintain a close watch on organizational vision and goals, and identify if new requirements for growth are needed. Although creating training programs can be time consuming -- taking you away from other priorities -- you must ask yourself -- can I afford not to develop training right now? Then, a determination must be made of what training, and targeted to whom, is most critical.

At the juncture where immediate needs, current success, and future goals cross paths, you need to evaluate how you got to where you are, and how you will continue to reach defined goals. This requires an honest assessment of where gaps in process, communication flow (including documentation sharing) and training exist. Once defined, you can begin to create a solution orientation to plan future growth and identify solutions to immediate and specific needs.

A solution orientation identifies immediate challenges and how to solve them. It focuses on the big picture and future goals, but considers short term requirements. It focuses on the "problem" "issue" or "challenge" and finds a specific solution for it. By solving immediate needs and challenges, future goals and success can be met.

One way to develop a solution orientation is to adopt a strategic focus on learning and training. Looking at training strategically responds to the gap analysis. It defines what training and knowledge needs are required in order to meet organizational goals. As goals evolve so do knowledge and training needs; meeting these changes promotes a continuous learning environment.

When planning training, a question to ask is: When success comes, will the organizational structure be ready for it? Will appropriate staff be in place, and ready to respond to continue to grow the business? In order to do this, an organization must have a clear vision of goals, and a success map that outlines the path to reach them.

In determining where your organization is in the process of continuous learning, ask yourself the questions below to identify who needs what training when. Remember, it’s easier to instill an ongoing training program than to implement a quick fix when something goes wrong.

  1. Are new hires oriented to the organization? Do they understand the company, its culture, its products, and how you differentiate from competitors?

  2. Does the sales team fully grasp new features and benefits of new products?

  3. Do support departments know how to provide back-up, and fulfill the needs of client-facing staff?

  4. Has customer service been brought up to speed on new product features and differentiation?

  5. Do account reps know how to get a "buy" quickly through the system and into accounts receivable?

Call Knowledge Advantage @ 860.256.7879 to learn how to develop a learning strategy with a solution orientation to support continual learning opportunities.

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