ASTD 2011 Conference Blog

Current Articles | RSS Feed RSS Feed

Demonstrating Results: To Get a Seat at The Table…Get Out of the Classroom

Marie Westbrook is Dean and Professor of Leadership and Management at the Securities and Exchange University. She will be co-presenting “Return on Expectations: Best Practices from the US Federal Government” on Monday, May 23 at 4:00 pm in Room W 207 ABC. The session’s other presenters include: Cheryl Ndunguru, HR Specialist at OPM; Eduardo Rodela, Management Analyst for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; James Kirkpatrick, Senior Consultant at Kirkpatrick Partners, and Robert LaVanway, Manager, LMSB L&E International for IRS – Large Business and International. 

Read on for a preview of the session topic, results driven management:

Ask any federal sector manager what the first thing on their mind is each day and chances are his or her answer will be “How to get things done without enough resources.”   The possibility of a government shutdown which was on the horizon last week emphasized the situation in which we lead.  The reality is that for most federal sector agencies resource constraints have been and will continue to be a major obstacle to accomplishing our mission and achieving results. 

In the area of learning and development our ability to demonstrate results and maintain a fundamental level of investment in building the capabilities of our workforce becomes more and more critical each day.  

What gets in our way of demonstrating results and illustrating the alignment of capacity building and achieving mission critical outcomes?

The answer may surprise you.   Think of the last time you conducted or observed a presentation by a training division on their value added or strategic plan.  It is more than likely that the starting point for their presentation was the curriculum or learning activities planned for the years ahead.   Now consider what is foremost on the minds of the other decision-makers in the room.  Can you see the gap?  

Often times we anchor our conversation on the strategy for learning and development in the classroom and not at the level of the context in which the agency must meet mission critical goals.  For example, how differently would you design your presentation if you started instead with the issues and challenges faced by your agency and how the specific learning and development programs and/or activities will move the needle on addressing these issues?   What do you require of your learning and development team?  Is one of the requirements that they fully understand the “business” of their clients?  Can they articulate the changing issues and challenges faced within your agency?  Can they link learning and development to providing a forum for addressing or at least managing these issues? 

Demonstrating value added and return on investment for learning and development can be achieved by anchoring your conversations about learning at the enterprise level where in time your team or your division will no longer be regarded as discretionary costs to be eliminated during budget constraints but as a critical strategic business partner with a seat “at the table” and out of the classroom. 

Marie A. Westbrook, Ph.D.
Dean and Professor of Leadership and Management
Securities and Exchange University
Securities and Exchange Commission

“The Securities and Exchange Commission, as a matter of policy, disclaims responsibility for any private publication or statement by any of its employees.  The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Commission or the author’s colleagues upon the staff of the Commission."

All Posts