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Training projects are our business. We want nothing more than to bring our expertise to your office and make your project run smoothly. What makes us such experts? Well, a great team, years of experience…and our ability to choose incredibly skilled and knowledgeable partners.  We introduced you to partner Linda Wade recently, and she’s come up with a comprehensive list of mistakes she’s seen in her CRM training projects and how to avoid them.A series of 10 Training Mistakes to avoid

We decided to turn this into a blog series, since the information was so thorough. A thought from Linda:

“Over the years, we have learned that there are consistent reasons why CRM projects fail to meet expectations. We collected these reasons into a “top ten” document that we distribute internally to our team members. This highlights some of the common pitfalls and their solutions that will ensure that the training phase of your project is successful.”

Here’s tip one on mistakes that are made and how to avoid them…stay tuned for the rest of this list!

  1. Failing to Obtain Executive Support

The success of a technology project (and the subsequent training) begins at the top of the organization and must be visible to all users. Management support of the program is paramount to the ultimate success of the project.

Their input not only helps shape the vision of the project but it is their support that will help ensure that your objectives are met. Without that buy-in from key executives, your automation project at best will limp along with minimal attention to detail. At worst, it is bound to fail (Murphy’s Law: at the worst possible moment) placing the organization in jeopardy.

Employee direction, opinion, and perception of what is important to an organization is shaped from the top and promoted based upon the actions of executive leadership. If an organization’s leadership supports a business program, then the employees will follow the lead.

The following techniques are suggestions to get started in obtaining that important executive support and buy-in:

Start Small

Start small and be realistic. If at all possible, plan your project to be delivered in phases and deploy the more basic modules first (i.e. the low hanging fruit). If you are developing a tool that is replacing many different processes you stand a much higher chance of success by rolling out the tool in phases. Senior management will generally approve a plan that includes an honest assessment of the organizational impact.

Show Value

Executives will expect (demand) a full accounting of the value of the project. Be prepared to provide a clear business case on the benefits of the overall project. Don’t leave out training! Executives will often happily assume that training and change management is included in your overall budget. If these critical processes are not budgeted up front, it becomes very difficult to secure funding later in the development lifecycle.  In this case, the development team usually ends up delivering a very watered-down training to the benefit of, well, nobody.

Be Committed

Be available and committed. Executives often ask more detailed questions after your project presentation. How quickly and clearly you answer questions will be perceived as a direct reflection on how well prepared your team is for the implementation.

Be Visible

Change Management is, at its core, about communication.  Make the project highly visible to the organization. Regular ticklers sent out to the organization during development will build anticipation and eliminate fear.

Steering Committee

A steering committee comprised of high-level stakeholders should be created. The steering committee would be responsible for providing guidance on overall strategic direction. They do not take the place of a sponsor, but help to spread the strategic input and buy-in to a larger portion of the organization.

The steering committee is usually made up of organizational peers, and is a combination of direct customers and indirect stakeholders.

You can’t always avoid mistakes, but at least with some good guidance, we know we can put you on the right track.

-L&D thoughts
-Have a thought on our blog post? Please comment below, we love to start new discussions!

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