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Many training professionals struggle to gain program sponsor and/or line manager buy-in for new programs. One of the questions Jim and Wendy Kirkpatrick repeatedly hear is, "How do you get manager involvement in your training initiatives?"

It is common knowledge that the more touchpoints a salesperson has with a potential client or customer, the more likely that customer is to buy. The same principle is true here.

We have identified four opportunities along with the life of a major initiative to partner with program sponsors and/or line managers to maximize results. Each of the four parts of this new quick tip series on maximizing manager involvement will cover one of these four opportunities.


The first touchpoint you are likely to have with a program sponsor or manager is when you are being given your “marching orders” for a training program. This is your first partnership opportunity.

Here are 5 specific recommendations for forming a strong working partnership with senior leaders during this initial program scoping:

1.  Do your homework ahead of time. Become familiar with your organization’s mission, vision, core values, and current strategic goals.

2.  Set up an in-person meeting with senior leaders or department managers to agree on high-level desired outcomes for the targeted program. Use what you learned about the organization in step 1 to make sure these goals are either what we call “the flag at the top of the mountain," or strategic leading indicators of progress. Leading indicators are short-term observations and measurements suggesting that critical behaviors are on track to create a positive impact on desired results.

3.  Discuss with them the crucial importance of the on-the-job behaviors that must occur in order for those desired results to occur.

4.  Work with line managers to determine what required drivers will be necessary to ensure that the critical behaviors will actually occur. Required drivers are processes and systems that reinforce, monitor, encourage or reward the performance of critical behaviors on the job.

5.  Finally, work to get all of these leaders to ‘sign on’ to this initiative, not to ‘sign off’. This means that they are committed to actively holding people accountable for the critical behaviors, and offer targeted support.

Real Example

Not long ago, Kirkpatrick Partners worked with the business and leadership team for a major French manufacturer and distributor of beauty products. This experience will serve to bring to life each of the four touch points discussed in this quick tip series.

Jim spent two days with the L&D team in Normandy, sharpening their evaluation strategies and tools. Several mission-critical programs were selected to showcase the new Kirkpatrick Model.

Then, several key business stakeholders met with Jim and the L&D leaders in Paris in an attempt to elicit ‘stakeholder buy-in’. Once the new approach was explained, the leadership team was eager to help.

The partnership was forged over the next several hours, with the focus on convincing the business leaders that they were in a powerful position to influence the speed and degree of program success.

The ‘flag at the top of the mountain’ (profitability and market share) was agreed upon, as were practical ideas as to how the leaders would actually go about being active, ongoing champions for the program.

Be sure to tune in next week for part 2 of this series to learn about utilizing a program kick-off champion.

Read the rest of this series for all the tips to getting a seat at the table

Part 2 - 3 Tips for Strengthening Your Initiative with a Program Kickoff Champion

Part 3 - Stop Playing Hide-and-Seek with Managers After Training

Part 4 - Learn the Most-Ignored Tip in the Training Industry for Maximizing Manager Involvement

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Comments

# Chuck Udell
Thursday, August 17, 2017 3:51 PM
This is an excellent article stating to me what must happen for a program to be effective and bring about sustained change to improve performance.

Your first point to me is a must-have - without understanding the organizations' misssion, vision, values, and strategic goals, you can not be an effective business partner which will make setting up in-person meetings with senior management almost impossible to accomplish.

I hope in future articles you discuss what else you must do to develop relationships with management at all levels. Building these realtaionships take time and training professionals can not loose patience and focus.
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