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July 20, 2004 - Get Influential People to Champion Your Training Ideas - Part 2

In June, we explored how to enlist influential advocates (or "champions") to help you accomplish your Human Capital Development (HCD) goals. We gave you ideas for building a strategy to get the big hitters on board, but we did not discuss what to do after you gain their support. That is what we'll discuss here.

What to do with a supportive training champion
You've vetted your list of potential champions and gotten agreement from one or two to support your ambitious HCD strategy. Now what should you do with them? They've made a substantial commitment to your ideas, so you have to give them a role that will legitimize your efforts.

Start small and build momentum
You don't want to blow all of your ammunition at once. Begin by sending a memo, letter or email from your champions to all parties (i.e. managers) who might take advantage of your strategy that explains why your champions believe in your HCD strategy. It should include a call to action from your champions. We suggest that the letter request the recipients' attendance at a briefing in order to present your ideas in a formal setting. Make sure the message is forceful, passionate, and that it aligns well with your vision. Coming from your champions, the message needs no sugar-coating. It will stand on its own because of who is sending it. This is your first stake in the ground, and when done right will help you build a solid foundation for your plans.

After this message is sent, it is your job to follow up with recipients to confirm their attendance at the briefing. Follow up in person or by telephone. This is an extremely important step. Good follow-up will be the key to your success, so make sure you make a habit of it at this juncture. The best training officers we do business with are always excellent at following up on everything.

It is vital that your champions take part in the briefing. Often, training officers wait until the start of a new training initiative to bring their champions in to say a few words. Not you. You want your audience to understand the depth to which your champions are committed to your cause, so make your advocates an integral part of each step of your roll-out. If you don't, your audience will not take you seriously.

Next month, we will complete this three-part series by showing you how to conduct your briefing, how to follow-up on the briefing, and how to co-launch your initiative with your champions at your side. Should you have any questions or if you have any insight that might contribute to this topic, email us at Benchmark Training at jgorman@benchmark-training.com. Keep up the good work!

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