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Building Business Acumen for Trainers: Skills to Empower the Learning Function

Building Business Acumen for Trainers: Skills to Empower the Learning Function

Terrence L. Gargiulo, Ajay Pangarkar, Teresa Kirkwood, Tom Bunzel

ISBN: 978-0-787-98695-7 December 2006 Pfeiffer 260 Pages




As a training and development or human resource professional, do you have the knowledge, skills, and experience you need to become an indispensable strategic partner within your organization? Building Business Acumen for Trainers provides step-by-step practical advice on business practices guaranteed to  win the support, respect, and attention of your organization. Written for both new and seasoned professionals, this essential resource will show how to put into practice the three critical areas of business acumen:
  • Finance skills
  • Partnering skills
  • Communication skills

Acknowledgments xv

Introduction xvii

The Introduction lays out the intended audience, major themes, and organization of this book. An introductory case study tells the story of the (fictitious) Pogo Insurance Company. Try to help Stanley, Pogo’s manager of training and development, tackle the challenges he encounters. Use this case study to assess your business acumen in the areas of financial skills, partnering skills, and communication skills.


1. A Primer on Financial Basics 3

In this review of the essential principles of business financial management, key terms and concepts are explained in clear, easy-to-understand language.

2. Understanding Budgets and Forecasts 41

Here you will learn about the differences between a budget and a forecast and about types of budgets, budget variances, preparing financial forecasts, and conducting break-even analyses. This chapter also explains how to create a variety of scenarios through forecasting and financial analysis techniques in
order to answer the what-if questions asked by management.

3. Evaluation and Return on Investment: What It Means to Management 75

This explanation of the fundamentals of conducting a training return on investment (ROI) analysis also addresses the impact of the analysis on the organization, the ROI information management needs to make informed decisions, methods of communicating ROI results to reinforce the need for
training and development (T&D), and evaluation in relation to ROI analysis and other analyses of value.

4. Outsourcing and Vendor Management 115

This description of outsourcing and its role in T&D will give you necessary insights into how to write a request for proposal (RFP), select vendors for your project, and decide between hiring and outsourcing.


5. Building Institutional Support 157

In this chapter you will explore how to position T&D as a strategic asset in an organization and learn strategies for aligning T&D activities with major organizational objectives. You will also learn how to perform a stakeholder analysis to gain support for T&D.

6. Partnering with Your Customers 177

Through this discussion of five critical success factors of successful partnership and ten strategies for building strong partnerships, you will learn the ways in which relationships play an essential role in partnerships.

7. Partnering Inside T&D 201

This discussion of instilling the practice of partnering inside the T&D organization details eight key behaviors of leadership for T&D professionals. You will also learn about performance management and why it is an effective tool for building excellence.

8. Human Performance Technology and Business Acumen 225

In this chapter you will discover the principles of human performance technology and learn how HPT can help you to do a better job of addressing performance needs and solving performance problems.


9. Writing Business Messages 249

This explanation of the fundamentals of good writing includes opportunities to practice specific strategies for writing more effective business messages.

10. Developing a Business Case 269

This chapter presents a detailed example of the elements that go into building a good business case for training.

11. Writing Reports 291

In this examination of the fundamentals of writing reports, you will learn the importance of taking preparatory steps as well as ways to approach writing each section of a report.

12. Making Effective Presentations 315

This discussion of tips and techniques for writing and delivering effective oral presentations will help you communicate effectively with your audiences and also use today’s technology wisely.

Appendix 1: ROI Formulas 345

Appendix 2: Using the ROI Calculator 347

Appendix 3: Thinking Like Management Review 349

Appendix 4: Answers for Delivery Flexibility Scenario in Chapter Six 353

Appendix 5: Answers for Measurement Flexibility Scenario in Chapter Six 357

References and Suggested Reading 363

Index 367

About the Author 375

About the Contributors 377

How to Use the CD-ROM 379