The question might seem backwards to you—after all, shouldn’t you be figuring out how to best support your customer, then find a way to pay for it? That’s one way to do it, but let’s go back even earlier in the thought process, to your Value Proposition. Before you design training or deliver a learning experience, you need to know what you’re actually offering your customer. Whether it’s cost savings, skills development, or simple risk reduction, L&D needs to know what it wants to be to the organization.
There are two ways to go about developing a value proposition. You could find customer(s) first, figure out what they need, then build a value prop (and an organization) that meets that need. The other option is to declare a value proposition that you want to manifest, then go out and find customers that will benefit most from it. The second route is a difficult path for L&D to take, because internally, you will only have so many potential customers to choose from. The first approach is usually what you’ll be left with.
This is important because when L&D ignores the value prop that the customer expects, the training delivered can become ineffective or even counterproductive. Would your customer pay for skills development, when all they wanted was risk reduction? Will the customer pay for performance support when all they expected was cost efficiency? Even if the customer isn’t the one holding the purse-strings, if the answer is “no,” then delivering anything outside of their expectations wastes your resources without adding value to the learning experience.
I understand the temptation to promise the world (rich, innovative learning experiences and simulations) at rock-bottom prices, but failing to deliver on that promise isn’t going to help anyone in the long run. Instead, craft a reasonable, achievable value prop that aligns with your customers’ needs. If you meet and exceed their expectations time and time again, the cachet and influence L&D can build will eventually give you the freedom to propose the types of training you really want to pursue.
Do you have a value prop that fits, or does it need some tweaking? Settling the Value Proposition component of the Learning Model Canvas is one way to find out. If you’d like to learn more about using the LMC to align your value prop, leave a comment below or drop me a line directly.