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September 2019
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TD Magazine

For Best Results, Ask Questions to Zero in on Priorities

Learning consultants can work with stakeholders to weigh what's most important.

September 2019 TD at Work Cover

What do stakeholders want to gain from this project? That is a salient point when undertaking a learning project, write Chris Adams and Beth Hughes in “Focus First on Results." To ascertain this, ideally learning consultants will start by asking “What results are needed for the organization to be successful?"

To get to those organizational results, the consultant drills down, asking:

  • What performance results must be achieved to produce those organizational results?
  • What experience must learners have to create those performance results?
  • What products must be designed, developed, and implemented to yield that experience?
  • And what process does the project team need to experience to successfully develop those products?

Desired organization results, for example, may mean reduced costs, increased revenue, or meeting compliance requirements.
Among the questions a learning consultant may ask the key stakeholder include:

  • What measurable business results would you like to achieve?
  • What does success look like?
  • What are the risks if the organizational goals aren't met?
  • What organizational goals or factors are most important to you?
  • Are there any barriers to achieving the desired business results?

Through asking questions, the learning consultant can help the stakeholder evaluate the identified set of desired results and balance in favor of those that are most important to the individual. That, write Adams and Hughes, provides a context for decision making across the project.
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These tips were adapted from the September 2019 issue of TD at Work. Learn more at www.td.org/TDatWork.

About the Author

The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is a professional membership organization supporting those who develop the knowledge and skills of employees in organizations around the world. The ATD Staff, along with a worldwide network of volunteers work to empower professionals to develop talent in the workplace.

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