Myths And Beliefs Of Leadership Trainers Continue To Propagate

Trainers Keep On Propagating These Myths And Beliefs Of Leadership

I come across too many learning practitioners who misunderstand or misinterpret what their business leaders expect from training. They believe, or propagate, leadership myths that continue to exist within the training community.

I’ve categorize these preconceptions and myths into 3 areas.

1. Trainers Believe Training - Or Any Business Activity For That Matter - Is Essential

There isn't an internal business activity that's essential. In reality, business leaders make decisions on the value every internal business activities add. When it doesn't add value, they ask questions or worse, eliminate it altogether.

To ensure training adds value, make sure you assess training from a business perspective. This means that your efforts should align to operational needs, contribute to financial benefits, and demonstrate tangible performance benefits.

2. Trainers Believe Business Leaders Aren't Sold On Training

Actually, your business leaders do see value in training. They know it's the one activity providing value for their only, true competitive differentiator, their employees.

Here’s the thing, leaders are sold on training conceptually, however, if you don’t demonstrate tangible performance outcomes, they’ll reallocate your budget to other areas actually delivering value.

Prepare to answer questions such as, 'does my training effort make economic and business sense?' and 'how will it present tangible benefits?'

3. Trainers Believe The Training Function Is Tactical, Not Strategic

Your leaders know they can’t let knowledge walk out of the door. They recognize skilled employees offers the organization competitive advantages. They also know knowledge provides a strategic benefit but are unable to see how training can play a strategic role for the organization. And we, the learning community, are a big part of the problem.

Training practitioners are desperate to be part of their leader’s strategy conversations. But to do so, training must itself think strategically. This means first becoming a proactive operational partner rather than a functional after-thought and second, developing integrative training solutions focusing on strategic outcomes.


For example, part of Google’s mission statement is, "to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful". It has 4 variables: the world’s information, organization, universal accessibility, and usefulness.

It’s clear that Google fulfills their mission partly because their training division focuses on identifying and strengthening internal processes contributing to this mission. As a result, Google’s leaders recognize the value training offers as strategic partners.


Think about this value the next time you use results partly from strengthening the skills within the RIGHT business processes, not all business processes. Your value is only as good as how well your most recent training effort contributed to business improvement. The more effective you are, the more you’ll get noticed.

Be consistent and leaders will call upon you to participate in decision-making and strategic processes. This partially acknowledges training’s value. Leaders will fully acknowledge training efforts when you clearly answer in business terms they understand, "convince us what training will do for the organization".

It’s a privilege to receive leadership acknowledgement but it’s not an endorsement. Don’t take it personally because every internal activity must do the same. Take it for granted, and you’ll have to rebuild all over again...and the second time is much harder.

Last But Not Least

If you want to learn more watch for my Spring 2018 course, "Gaining Internal Buy-in For eLearning". If you enjoyed this article, please visit my recent Train-the-Trainer eLearning course designed for both recent and seasoned trainers.

When it comes to what leaders expect, don’t always believe what you hear. Recognize how leaders perceive training’s role within the organization and what they expect. They know training is essential, but it’s up to you to prove them right. This is your time to shine. #alwaysbelearning