Wednesday, June 24, 2015

I Wish My Boss Were Here For This Training!

I hear the title quote "I wish my boss were here for this training" or "My boss needs to hear this" after almost ever training session we do. Sometimes it is a leadership or communication class other times it is reliability or manufacturing improvement sessions but the response is nearly the same every time.
I take this quote to  mean at least two things:
  • first the student agrees with the content (which is nice) 
  • second they wish their boss either did agree or was more supportive of the concepts put forth.
So what can we do as students to build support and understanding with our boss?
The perfect solution would be to of course have the boss join you in the training but this is not always possible.
The second best solution is to have the training provider deliver a condensed but powerful "executive workshop" before the general training. In this session the trainer would provide key elements, key benefits, critical risk to implementation of the concepts, and key questions to reinforce the training with the larger participant group among other things.
But, what if you can not make either one of these things happen? How can you up-skill your boss? Below are 3 ideas that you can play around with to help get your boss on board and supporting the training which will drive a larger return on the training dollars you are spending.
First, if you can't convey the training in terms that connect with the concerns of your manager then you have already lost. Ask yourself "if I were them what would keep me up at night?" Does the training session or concepts taught mitigate that concern or at the very least reduce the risk in that area? If so lets use those points to begin the conversation.
Second can you convey the key points of the training, building off of the managers concerns, in approximately 2 minutes (think elevator speech). Key here is do you know it well enough to confidently articulate it in their terms concisely enough to get their interest before they get distracted?
Third tell them what you need. Tell your boss what is required for the training to be successful. Don't just focus on the resources that you need. Tell your boss what you want to be held to task on or asked about regularly. This takes trust but, you know what you need to do to make the training successful in changing the behavior of the organization. You also know the parts that will be hard for you and where you might need a little extra motivation or help to keep things moving.
There are other tools like A3 charters and Single Point Lesson that can help as well but we can save those for another post or a conversation.
I hope this helps you to help "your boss to hear" during your next training session. Just remember you have to sell it with confidence and passion while meeting the bosses needs and reducing any potential career risk to them that might be associated with what you need them to support.