WelcOMe TO MY WORld
A snapshot into the lives of the people who hire us
Confessions of an In-House
Training Decision Maker
All hail the corporate client! Visions of mul- tiple bookings, bigger budgets and a new level of name-dropping dance in a speaker’s head at
the mere mention of working in-house
with a corporate client. But what if
the company already has an in-house
training or professional development
department? Does the dream dissolve?
Not necessarily, according to Del Black,
former manager of internal training and
professional development at companies
such as Hughes Aircraft and Boeing.
Now the owner of Deep Roots
Consulting, Black shares some insights
with Terri Langhans, CSP, on what it
was like to be on the decision-making
side of the corporate desk.
Terri Langhans, CSP: What kinds of
Del Black: Don’t assume that just because
they have an in-house department, they
don’t hire outside help. When I worked
for an engineering and manufacturing plant, I did the bulk of the training
myself, but when it came to team development—which was not my expertise at
the time—I brought in a consultant.
Is there significance to “consultant”
rather t han “speaker” or “trainer”?
Yes. In that case, we wanted to build a
team-based culture, so it was important to
find someone who would partner with us
and relate to both leadership and the front
line. We weren’t looking for someone to
drop in and deliver X number of team-building talks. We needed someone to
assist in building a case for empowered
teams with the execs, design the training
and conduct the sessions.
Did people really just drop
in and deliver?
All the time, granted they probably
didn’t view themselves that way. At
Hughes, our internal professional development department designed nearly all
of the training, but we hired outside
people to present our content. We
would look for people with experience
and credentials in, say, performance
improvement, but expect them to be
our hands and feet, to have a feel for
our lingo and truly become part of the
family. An external consultant who
says, “Here is my pitch, and here are
my needs,” wouldn’t go over.
What is a better approach?
The best thing speakers or trainers
could do is introduce themselves, show
experience, and ask about our interest
in their topic or area of expertise.
How did you feel about
Cold calls were tough. I was usually
running around with my hair on fire,
and just didn’t have the time. Often,
when I had those kinds of conversations, no matter what my needs were,
the response was, “Yes, I can boil the
ocean for you.”
I preferred a well-crafted, focused
statement of what they could offer me
up front. It might not be what I needed,
but if it was, I would have been interested in what they had to say.