How to be a Valued Business Partner

Thursday, November 15, 2018 12:36 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

By Mike Faber, MS

The year-end presents an opportunity for training professionals to further cement their role as a valued business partner. Whether you’re working with an organization as a consultant, contract trainer, or as an employee, the chance to play a significant role in planning for 2019 and beyond can boost your profile far beyond being “the training lady/guy”. Here are three ways to make an impact outside of keeping the permanent markers away from the dry erase board!

  1. Volunteer to take on a facilitator role in business planning sessions. Your value is as an independent “third party” who can use questions to help the group break through old ways of thinking and “we’ve tried that before” obstacles. Even if your participation is limited to taking notes on a flipchart, you’ll be able to read the room and better determine how to interact with decision-makers in the months ahead.
  2. Schedule 1:1 or small group meetings to act as a sounding board for frontline reps and managers. Oftentimes their insight provides the best prompts for training initiatives that are needed in the new year. While those individuals may be reticent to share their true feelings with leadership about competency gaps, your position as a listener rather than a judge can help break down those barriers. If possible, schedule these interactions off-site to remove distractions, potential interruptions, and to demonstrate that you value this input enough to make their agenda paramount.
  3. While traveling around the holidays can be a nuisance, this is a great time of year to get “face time” with locations outside of your local office. You’ll be surprised at how welcome the “training team” is in places that don’t normally get such visits. Remote workers can harbor resentment about headquarter employees getting all the perks, and there’s some truth to that. Now is a great time to visit with a listening agenda, learning games, and some swag from the home office. If you can’t make it in person, leverage a resource like Zoom* to make it feel as intimate as possible.

Learning and Development is a 365-day/year necessity in organizations large and small. We know that L&D is key to top performer retention, employee engagement, and recruiting. Gallup’s 2016** study found that 2/3rds of workers are disengaged or actively disengaged, so your leaders need you to be doubly engaged in their careers and the careers of their direct reports. Demonstrating that value on a consistent basis outside of the formal training realm means you’re more likely to be engaged, more likely to be called upon for guidance, and more likely to be seen as invaluable to the organization.

*There are multiple platforms for video collaboration, Zoom is one option.


Mike Faber is a Sales Trainer with Zoom Video Communications. He holds a BS in communications from Ithaca College, and a master’s degree in organizational leadership from Colorado State University – Global Campus. 

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