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  • 22 Nov 2013 8:11 AM | Pamela Lambert (Administrator)

    From our Member and VP, Membership Tim Tyler, CPLP - http://about.me/tim.tyler


    Time for L&D Planning Season?

    At this time of year in my organization (a real estate franchise organization) we spend a lot of time and effort teaching (and urging) franchise owners and independent sales associates to develop a business plan for the up-coming year. This has prompted me to consider the importance of business planning for learning and development businesses, departments and professionals.

    So how could you create a business plan for your organization, or yourself? One source you can refer to is the ASTD Handbook for Workplace Learning Professionals (Editor: Elaine Biech, page 726), which contains a chapter on business planning for a Learning and Development department. Below is a little summary of what we teach in our organization; tailored to a learning and development professional.

    Start with a SWOT analysis. This is a analysis of your, or your organization's Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Using a table in Word or PowerPoint (or your favorite word processor), draw a four quadrant matrix and identify and write down your strengths and weaknesses (internal factors to you or your organization) and opportunities and threats (external to you or your organization).

    Remember, strengths and weaknesses are internal factors. For example your strengths might be that you are a very engaging presenter, your department might have a strong instructional design process, or your consultancy could have a large client base. Your weaknesses might include poor meeting management, long development cycle or a lack of resources to take on new or unexpected projects. If you find you can identify tons of weaknesses, but only a few strengths, don't worry, many people find it easier to identify problems than give themselves credit for things they do well. Ask a mentor, colleague or business partner to help you identify your strengths.

    Opportunities and threats are external factors. Examples of opportunities might include a unit or department of your company that has not yet engaged the learning department, a new technology to employ in your learning designs, or a promotion. Examples of threats include outsourcing of learning design and development, layoffs, or new competitors with disruptive business models.

    Once you have completed your SWOT analysis, you can use it to develop your business plan:
    Look for ways to use your strengths to address threats.
    Seek training and resources to address your weaknesses.
    Develop SMART goals for each of your opportunities.

    SMART goals are those which have the following 5 attributes:
    Specific – answer the questions what, how much, where, who...
    Measurable – they involve measurable activities and outcomes
    Attainable – a goal which is unattainable wastes resources and kills motivation
    Relevant – each goal should relate to the mission and purpose of your organization
    Time-based – set specific milestones and deadlines

    An example of a SMART goal might be to contact an average of 11 prospective clients a week throughout 2014 or completing a course on HTML5 by March 15 in order to begin converting an eLearning course from Flash in April.

    Once you have compiled your goals into a business plan, the next step is to enter your milestones into your Outlook or Google calendar. Schedule time to review your plan and make sure you keep these appointments. Planning is not an event, it is a process!

    The final step is to share your plan with your organization, your boss, or a mentor. The visibility of your business plan is an important component of accountability and will help to keep you on track. You may have heard that sharing your weight loss goal with others is a great way to gain encouragement and help you keep on track. The same applies to a business plan. Remember, if you need help finding a mentor to share your plan with, Northern New Jersey ASTD is a great place to look for one.

    While the end of year is a great time to begin your planning process, there is no bad time to start planning. A business plan gives you a solid road map to success. Would you prefer to launch into the new year on the back of a New Year's resolution, or a well thought out business plan

    Tim Tyler,

  • 16 Nov 2013 7:54 AM | Pamela Lambert (Administrator)

    See what Employee Learning Week is all about and get resources to help you promote Employee Learning Week at your organization.


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