Besides daily statistics, tell them the stories of your monumental successes, don't be too shy to brag. If you don't, who will? Taking the time to tell your story ensures that it gets framed in the best possible light and reminds your audience why they put their faith in you. Bring executives your numbers, but wrap the numbers in detailed stories of how your system affects the lives of employees and the success of the company. Statistics on their own spur only a limited amount of excitement. They have a much deeper impact when they are delivered in a context that links them to the business imperatives of the audience.
When the learning and development team hits major home runs at Rockwell Collins, you can't get us to stop talking about them. For example, the electromagnetic interference (EMI) course our team developed, which solved a multimillion-dollar-a-year problem in the engineering department and enabled the company to bid on new contracts, was a powerful example of our success. The course was linked directly to a critical business issue ”products meant for airplane cock-pits were failing design tests because the electromagnetic interference they emitted disrupted other avionic equipment in the airplane. The learning and development team helped to eliminate that problem through our work processes ”front-end analysis and the delivery of a targeted competency-based computer-based training course.
But if we had simply told executives that the learning and development team delivered EMI training to 2,500 engineers , the story would have had little impact, especially given that few of them understood the specifics of EMI and its effects on the business. Instead we told them a story, first setting the stage with the way things were, showcasing how this problem went unaddressed for years because the old training system didn't have the tools to uncover the flaw in the business cycle, and highlighting the amount of money the company wasted redeveloping products every year. Then we told them how our system was designed to pinpoint such problems, how after considerable front-end analysis our team created a single twelve- hour CD-ROM course that got all 2,500 engineers trained in six months, and how the problem promptly disappeared. Even without taking direct credit for the elimination of this immensely costly situation ”you never know what environmental factors affect training results, and we didn't have the time or money to isolate them ”the story, linked with the multimillion-dollar savings to the company, painted a vivid picture of the influence Project Oasis was having on Rockwell Collins's business. Our leaders were suitably impressed.
Big successes like this one should receive lots of attention to maximize their impact. We talked this course up to anyone who would listen because it was the clear illustration of how our learning-organization transformation directly caused increases in productivity, potential for new business, and a reduction in costs. It changed a development process, sped delivery of a product line, and eliminated a significant skill gap in the engineering community.