Let me say for the record, I love the adventure that is my job. As Alice in Wonderland would say, it has “…allowed me to believe six impossible things before breakfast.” I have had wonderful opportunities to be a front desk reservationist at a busy resort, a poker dealer in a crowded casino, and a parts counterman at a large equipment dealership. I have lived the stresses of a construction manager working on a large skyscraper, a chemical engineer working on carbide coatings for fighter jets, a law enforcement officer dealing with strangulation victims, and as an international businessman needing to know the financial regulations of my multi-national clients. I have worked in flight simulators, armored tank simulators, built a car with a robot and even learned how to work a crane at 50 feet in the air. (All I can say is “YIKES”).
As a Learning Consultant, it is my role to build training which provides sustainable results, changes in behavior, or any number of other indicators with which a client is measuring success. I quite often relate my job to being a symbolic Alice in a really remarkable series of different Wonderlands. My job has been a journey of “tea parties” with countless different themes and personalities, and after each one, I feel the need to attend “just one more”. While most clients have a clear vision of what they want out of a training program, it is a pivotal part of my role to determine the best way to get them there – as well as identify any factors that might impact or impede measurable success.
In order to build training that has measurable success, Learning Consultants have to go “down the rabbit hole” and get to know the reality of the client. We have to look at the current systems and policies, which are the framework of our customer’s organization. We have to get to know the culture and personalities of the very real people who are participating in or influencing the success of the training. Not to mention, it is really important to get to know the environment in which the training will live and be sustained on a daily basis.
Now, admittedly, the journey down the “rabbit hole” might be far more fun with a sixties montage of psychedelic music and crazy characters instead of the normal ones you would expect to find in the different industries with which I have had the opportunities to work – but truly this is one of the aspects of my job I love the most. I consider it a privilege to have the fortune to immerse myself in the culture and inner-workings of a client. For a brief time, I get to see how people work, see what they are working on, and working with. I get to experience their expectations, successes, and challenges, which, let’s face it, shape how we as people feel about our own success.
The assessment of the client’s organization and of the training audience leads me on a wonderful journey getting to know amazing people, interesting products, and different ways of thinking. A successful assessment means staying focused on the training objective. Heeding the wise words of the Cheshire Cat when Alice asked, “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” The cat replies, ‘That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.” The desired result must stay in the forefront of my mind because, like Alice, I must truly embrace the experience in order to build a robust, educationally solid, and measurable training program.