The Eight Process Capability Areas of a Training Organization
Leaders of high-performing training organizations understand that achieving the level of excellence that their clients expect requires a strong commitment to process. Our research tells us that focus on process is not enough on its own; success depends on demonstration of process—or an organization’s ability to perform that process at a high level. When we began our research, the fundamental question we wanted to answer was, “What practices are associated with the capabilities that, when performed at a very high level, make a training organization great ?”
We surveyed learning leaders from a variety of industries all over the world to determine which process capabilities are the most important. While contributing their valuable opinions to identify the most critical process capabilities, these leaders also told us the practices that propel training organizations through the transformation from good to great. Learning leaders then rated how well their own training organizations perform each process capability to confirm which processes are truly criticaland to pinpoint potential areas for improvement.
The Eight Key Process Capabilities
When we asked learning leaders to rate which process capabilities were important in a great training organization, eight capabilities emerged as being most critical. We developed the cited practices through discussion with the research participants and other learning leaders into the following eight key process capabilities areas:
- Strategic alignment—Ability to design learning programs that align with business objectives.
- Content development—Assessment, design, management, and maintenance of content.
- Delivery—Ability to manage an instructor network and deliver training using multiple modalities.
- Diagnostics—Ability to identify causes of problems and make recommendations.
- Reporting and analysis—Ability to define business metrics and report data to make improvements.
- Technology integration—Ability to integrate learning technologies with other learning technologies or other corporate applications.
- Administrative services—Ability to manage scheduling, registration, technology, and other back office support functions.
- Portfolio management—Ability to manage, rationalize, and maintain large portfolios of learning solutions.
The greatest number of respondents (79%) rated strategic alignment as critical, and the second largest number of respondents (55%)said content development is critical. Figure 1-1 shows the percentage of respondents who rated each process capability as critical for great training organizations.
Figure 1-1 Percentage of Respondents Rating Each Process Capability as Critical for a Great Training Organization
Although Figure 1-1 demonstrates the need for great training organizations to possess many of the process capabilities listed, some capabilities are clearly considered more critical than others. When we asked learning leaders to specify which process capability is most critical for a great training organization, an overwhelming 59% reiterated the importance of strategic alignment, as shownin Figure 1-2.
Figure 1-2 The Most Critical Process Capabilities for a Great Training Organization
Learning leaders provided us with a very clear picture of where to start in improving the impact of a training organization. The old adage “if the program isn’t aligned with the goals of the business, then it’s probably not going to generate the type of impact it should” rings clear in the results of the survey.
We explore each of these process capabilities further in other chapters.