In our line of business, we interact with L&D leaders every day. They’re smart; they’re passionate; and they’re committed to creating a knowledgeable workforce. But they often come up against the same roadblock—getting a seat at the executive table. And they’re frustrated, to say the least.

While shareholders and senior executives totally get that knowledgeable employees are critical to organizational success, they don’t always see how employee knowledge directly correlates to business impact. So, they simply don’t see why L&D needs to be part of boardroom discussions.

But, there is a way for L&D leaders to make their voices heard.


When we’ve seen L&D leaders change the way they approach the learning conversation and take advantage of advances in technology to prove the value of learning, they start to get C-level attention.

Specifically, those L&D leaders who take a business-first approach to learning and can showcase the tangible, measurable results of their efforts, get invited to sit at the executive table. That means they:

  • Work closely with business leaders to understand strategic objectives and how those objectives translate into job performance objectives for each employee.
  • Identify employee job behaviors, that when done consistently, allow employees to achieve their objectives.
  • Observe and document job behaviors, so that exceptional or substandard behaviors can be identified.
  • Develop training programs that directly address the substandard knowledge and behaviors that drive poor performance.
  • Constantly analyze behaviors and provide corrective learning to ensure that performance objectives are continuously being achieved
  • Connect their efforts directly to business results that show increased revenue or decreased expenses

In other words, successful L&D leaders understand that L&D must position itself to use business results to drive learning programs. (Stay tuned: we’ll cover this process in detail in a follow-up post). When that happens, learning can be clearly aligned with business objectives, and tangible results can be measured, proving the value of learning and its contribution to the success of the organization.

L&D: it’s time to claim your seat at the boardroom table!

Carol Leaman

Author: Carol Leaman

Carol’s not your typical CEO. Sure, she’s built several startups into multi-million-dollar successes, and as Axonify’s President and CEO is currently driving a revolutionary approach to employee knowledge. But she’s more the doors-open, come-see-me-anytime sort of executive. Her ambitions are sky-high, but her approach is warm and down-to-earth; Carol doesn’t just dream big, she makes big things happen.

You can read more of her writing at ATD, CLO and Training Industry Magazine. She’s also a regular contributor for Fortune.

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