Dec 15, 2008

The smart cut - make, keep, freeze and cut

This is a suggestion for smart cutting your training catalog. It deals with the formal part of learning, anything that comes in classrooms or has to do with courses, curricula, certification and the likes. So it does not deal with the informal (or natural) part like communities of practice, social networks, forums, having a mentor, etc.

Here it goes:

Step 1 : Find out what the top 5 business priorities are for the year. If it's a big organization, you might need to do this exercise for various regions or business units. I can imagine for example that the business and learning needs in emerging markets as India and Russia might be different from the established ones with near zero growth.

Step 2 : Now get out your catalog of training and map it to the business priorities. Assign an impact number: 3 if the impact is this quarter, 2 if it is short term (like less than a year), 1 if it is a long term benefit (like next year).

Step 3 : Keep (or make if non-existing) the learning related to the business priorities that have an immediate impact (3).

Step 4 : Keep (or make if non-existing) the learning related to all you MUST do. This includes legal requirements on export regulations training, security training, ... depending on your industry. There might also be promises to unions that cannot be broken on short term, so that's a MUST training too.

Step 5 : Freeze, all other training that relates to business objectives, but without immediate impact. Unfreeze when there's an economic uptick.

Step 6 : Cut all other training out of your catalog. (You might push it off to informal learning or do-it-yourself learning.)

Would this work? Does it make sense? I bet the MS Office training you organize, be it via classroom or via e-learning, doesn't fit the business priorities. Why are we even still having formal training that just shows what buttons to press? That is so last century. But leadership training or sales training might make a lot of sense now. So keep that.

The point is: when you need to cut, decide on what to keep (or make), freeze or cut. And do it based on business priorities.

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