In terms of alignment of learning to business goals, companies are doing more performance consulting and needs analysis. They are moving away from using a reactive and order taker approach, but it is still not enough. The process must go further with companies creating a physical business plan for learning.
The plan could be fairly simple, say 10-15 pages, or even up to 100 pages, but what is important is that it involves all the key leaders and process owners and is laid out clearly in advance. If learning is run like a business, you should report out monthly and hold yourself accountable to the goals stated in the plan. Sometimes you will fail to meet the goal and at times, you will exceed them, but that is expected in business. With a specific plan and measurable goals in place, others will know you are running learning like a business.
The company will benefit from going through the development process and having the document to refer to throughout the year. Another benefit is to manage transition if the CLO or other key staff move on. This assures that the plan directs action rather than an individual driver.
With the plan, you have written goals for the organization, so learning professionals should talk about the goals. When you truly understand the business goals and address them directly, you can discuss learning recommendations and how learning can help achieve these goals.
If you do not have a plan, you can recreate the process by starting with the CEO or EVP to identify the key initiatives, who the owner of each is, and then, go talk to them. This process will build the plan over time and create the perception that you are better business person outside of being a better learning professional.
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