This post originally appeared on the Learning Hacks blog
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“Customers don’t care about your product. They care about their problem.”
– every successful entrepreneur I have met
My proposed framework, an adaptation of Alexander Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas, is anchored by the value proposition. It is also where I see the many of today’s training organizations fall down. The inability to define themselves in terms of the value they provide to customers is more than just window dressing. A value proposition is not simply a catchy slogan but it defined where an organization invests its limited resources to drive maximum value. A classic example of this was Xerox’s late nineties re-branding from “copier company” to “document company”. This single word change set off a slew of product innovations that has kept the company relevant for the past decade.
Enhanced performance enabled by learning
My proposed value proposition is carefully worded as well. “Enhanced performance” describes the solution to the problem faced by training’s customers. Companies don’t need courses, coaching or any of the other products manufactured by training departments. They need the results these can produce when done right. Focus on the benefit. It’s the only thing the customer cares about.
“Enabled” reflects the changing role of the training department from the arbiter of the “right way” to one which facilitates, curates and architects knowledge transfer. Words like “delivering” and “providing” suggest a centralized approach and neglects the importance of the learner’s emerging role as contributor and informal learning.
This value proposition also acts a test. If an activity doesn’t fall into it is should be out. I understand that performance has many drivers but the push by some towards a generalist approach has left many of the drivers sub-optimized. “By learning” ensures that the focus is on optimizing the knowledge component of performance.
So that is my suggestion for the new training organization’s value proposition. I like the sound of checking companies for PEL (performance enhancing learning). And I like the role of enabler as it feel more collaborative. Now comes the fun part, what startups call minimum viable product. The next step is to build a straw man example so that customers can react to it. This may take a minute.
What are your thoughts?