Strategic Partner
ATD Blog

You Know You're a Strategic Partner When the CFO Says So

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

For many years, learning professionals have talked about the need to have a seat at the table and be seen as a strategic business partner. But how do you achieve that goal and how do you know when you have arrived?

If you’re struggling with this very challenge, follow the lead of Emerson, which conceived, developed, and executed a global leadership development program that is achieving sustained relevant, compelling, and credible business outcomes.

During our session at the ATD 2016 International Conference & Exposition in Denver, we will explain how the team charged with global leadership development at Emerson earned its relationship as a strategic business partner that helps management create competitive advantages and sustainable success.

We will suggest that the credible evidence of the learning function’s new role is that the chief financial officer of this $24 billion multinational company is a strong supporter of learning—so much so that he recorded a call-to-action video message for the Leading at Emerson program in which he describes learning as a strategic investment and challenges participants not to let learning stop at the end of the workshop.


Three ideas were central to the transformation. First, learning must be treated as a process, rather than an event. That means moving the finish line from the end of class to performance on the job. We must stop giving credits and certificates of completion simply for attending a workshop. Learners have not completed a program until they have intentionally applied what they have learned in a way that improved their performance. The concept here is simple: The real work begins when the workshop ends.


Second, we need to align learning much more closely to the goals of the business. That is, we need to “begin with the end in mind” by defining the desired business outcomes before we start defining learning objectives or designing instruction. And we need to align our evaluation strategy to those outcomes so that we measure what actually matters to the business.

Finally, we have to take a more holistic and disciplined approach to designing a complete learning experience. That is, we have to plan what happens before and after the instruction with as much care and effort as we have traditionally applied to the coursework to ensure that the learning is transferred and used on the job. In this regard, we found The Six Disciplines of Breakthrough Learning (the 6Ds) to be an invaluable framework. In our presentation, we will explain each of these disciplines and how they contributed to the overall result.

If you are serious about becoming a trusted advisor and a strategic business partner, join us to learn how to raise the value of global leadership development—with the CFO’s help.

About the Author

In his role as corporate director of learning at Emerson Electric, Terrence shapes and supports the performance of current and emerging leaders across the world. He supports the leadership development of 67 business units under two main business segments with an employee base of 107,000. He leads a team of talented, passionate, and high-performing learning and development professionals focused on the instructional aspects of leadership development, while also supporting the broader talent management initiatives. Over the last 19 years, he has trained and equipped more than 32,000 people on five continents. His training and business skills help drive major corporate initiatives in areas such as outcomes-based training, succession planning, leadership development, and learning transfer.

About the Author

Roy V. H. Pollock, DVM, PhD, is Chief Learning Officer of The 6Ds Company and co-author of The Six Disciplines of Breakthrough Learning and Getting Your Money’s Worth from Training and Development. Roy has a passion for helping individuals and teams succeed. He is a popular speaker and frequent consultant on improving the value created by training and development.

Roy has a unique blend of experience in both business and education. He has served as Chief Learning Officer for the Fort Hill Company; Vice President, Global Strategic Product Development for SmithKline Beecham Animal Health; Vice President, Companion Animal Division for Pfizer; and Assistant Dean for Curriculum at Cornell’s Veterinary College.

Roy received his BA from Williams College cum laude and his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and PhD degrees from Cornell University. He studied medical education at the University of Illinois Center for Educational Development. Roy served as a member of the faculty at Cornell for eight years, where he received numerous awards including the Ralston-Purina Research Award and Veterinarian of the Year.  He is a Fellow of the Kellogg Foundation National Leadership Program.

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