5 Training Department Guiding Principles

I delivered a session at the ATD International Conference and Expo last week titled Back to the Future…of Training & Development. The crowd was a lot of fun. This was my first event presentation in a while and so I was a little nervous. My presentation was filled with new material that I have blogged about, but never put into a presentation. The feedback I received was much appreciated.  If you were there, thank you!

I touched on quite a few topics, and as usual, got so caught up in the moment that I lost track of time and went way over the session time. To my surprise, after giving everyone permission to leave, many stayed and wanted to hear more.  So we all hung out and learned from each other.

The day before my presentation I decided to add a slide on my Guiding Principles for Training Departments. It seemed to resonate strongly with the group. So I’ve converted it into an infographic (thanks canva.com for the new infographic template). But if you’re not into infographics, here’s the text version.


guiding principlesWe are knowledge brokers.

We build expertise in those who need it, by leveraging those who have it.

We put People first–Technology second.

We recognize the best training is often 1:1, but that doesn’t scale.  We strategically  use technology to amplify, and efficiently scale up, the human element of training.

We build as we deploy.

We iteratively develop scalable solutions while meeting current and immediate training needs.

We see learning as a long-term process.

We believe training events are only a part of the journey towards expertise.  We  leverage multiple content delivery channels to make content more readily available on demand in real-time.

We measure to evaluate success.

We ensure the effectiveness of training solutions by linking desired outcomes to business performance indicators, and tracking and evaluating results.


I developed these guiding principles while ramping up a training department at my last job. After creating them I realized they could fit into just about any corporate training department. They are good to have when you need to make sure your team and stakeholders need to get grounded on your basic ideals before moving on to strategy conversations.  The 5 principles help to shape those conversations.

Feel free to apply them to your own situation, and crediting me as the source would be much appreciated. If you’d like a little more explanation around each item, please feel free to reach out and I am happy to help clarify further.