Within two weeks of our arriving at Rockwell Collins in June 1998, we met with all fourteen business-unit leaders and the CEO to find out how they felt about training and to explore the state of Rockwell Collins's learning process. We had long discussions about their priorities and problems, and what role training played in helping them achieve their goals. As a result of these conversations, critical issues came to light that would later become the basis of the six key goals of our strategic plan.
For example, through these meetings we discovered that:
Many of Rockwell Collins's units run on three shifts seven days a week but training was offered from 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M., Monday through Friday only.
There was no consistency in the processes used by project managers because they weren't getting project-management training and certification.
The training that was offered was not considered applicable to employees ' business needs and specific job tasks .
Training was needed at the worksite, but because all of the training was classroom based, anyone outside of the Cedar Rapids office ”60 percent of the employees ”had to travel to Cedar Rapids for training.
Senior people who'd been with the company for decades were retiring in masses, and their expert knowledge was not being captured for future employees.
This anecdotal evidence suggested that the training department was internally focused and explained why the business units didn't hold the training department in high esteem. This data showed that in order for the learning to have any relevance and value, it had to be linked directly to Rockwell Collins's business goals. It also showed us that learning needed to be as close to the work environment as possible; the level of quality needed to be increased; and learning and development activities needed to be accessible to Rockwell Collins's 17,000 employees worldwide, twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week.
At this point in the process these were theories . It would take a great deal more research and several interviews to support this evidence before we built the plan.