Refocus on your Business Relationships in Four Steps
In recent years there has been a lot of discussion around the need for learning leaders to build better relationships with the business. Right now, this is even more true.
With transitions to working from home and the general stress of stay-at-home orders impacting us all, the business really needs L&D to be present and ready to support changing needs.
You’ve already survived the first few weeks of this transition. That was the goal—to get through it, help your team get settled as best as possible, and tackle any fires that erupted at the start. But now, if you haven’t already, it's time to refocus on supporting your business leaders.
Four Steps to Remain Aligned
Schedule a virtual coffee chat or mid-day walking meeting. This less formal approach may be a welcome change that encourages connecting while outside on the patio or sidewalk versus their home office desk.
Cover these key topics in your meeting:
First and foremost—check in on the person. We’re all riding the wave of uncertainty and dedicating some time to just ask how they are doing that day (to avoid the typical “fine” response) is important. Take the time to listen to how they are feeling personally if they are open to it.
Recall what was important to their business before COVID-19. Then, ask what has changed, how, and why. Ask them to name the top 1–2 most pressing things that are keeping them up at night. Answers to these questions will give you insight into the impacts to their business area and how it trickles into your space.
Based on these current priorities, discuss how your team can support these needs. Afterward, take a look at current support roadmaps. Should anything be added, shifted, or changed to better meet these needs?
After your meeting, follow-up quickly to communicate updated L&D support roadmaps. This will show responsiveness, help set expectations for the business, and support them in communicating to their leaders as well.
Find ways to stay present even if you aren’t in the office. For instance, establish a regular check-in. Even if you had a standing meeting on the books with business partners, the frequency and location may need to change to accommodate the current situation. You may even ask if there are meetings you should attend to stay closer to any changes that are developing rapidly.
When we as learning leaders are present, through both the good and the uncertain times, we strengthen our relationships with the business and keep us in-tune with how to be of service and positively impact business outcomes.