ASQ - Team and Workplace Excellence Forum

September 1999


Not So Common Sense

Establishing Teams: The Agony And Ecstasy

CEOs Have Little Control Over Bottom Line

Older Vs. Younger


A Conference For, By And At The People
by Peter Block


Brief Cases

Diary of a Shutdown

Views for a Change


Book Reviews with a Twist


"Running Training Like a Business: Delivering Unmistakable Value"
by David van Adelsberg and Edward A. Trolley

How can companies make learning pay off? It's the $56 billion question that until now had no clear answer.

That's how much US businesses spend each year on training and development programs for their employees. Yet most business leaders are unsure how much return they get for their sizable investments, or how much impact training and development has on their bottom lines. Although most agree that employee learning is crucial to business success, they doubt that traditional training organizations can deliver the kind of impact they need.

But it doesn't have to be that way, according to David van Adelsberg and Edward A. Trolley, authors of "Running Training Like a Business: Delivering Unmistakable Value." A corporate training organization can and should have a significant impact on the bottom line, they contend. The answer to the $56 billion question is all in how you run it.

What a concept!
With clarity, insight and a wealth of real-world examples borne of their experience in helping transform corporate training departments, the two authors provide a model for training organizations that work in today's business world. The results: training and development enterprises that break the mold by becoming strategically linked to corporate goals, by having clear objectives and quantifiable results and by operating efficiently and effectively.

Favorite Quote:
"In short, when you run training like a business, offering training that develops employee skills isn't good enough. The training you provide must also contribute-visibly and substantially-to fulfillment of customers' business strategies."

Using concise language and helpful charts, the book shows how to transform the traditional training enterprise from a sluggish cost center into an agile, flexible and valuable service. No longer does the training organization focus on conveying content; it now concentrates on meeting business needs. In short, van Adelsberg and Trolley have created a blueprint, from planning to start-up, for the training enterprise of the future.

Something for Everyone
While each company adapts the model in its unique way, the theory is the same: For training to play an important role in any company's future, it must become an intricate part of the business' strategic plan.

"We don't have all the answers," van Adelsberg and Trolley admit.

"Nor can we offer absolute best practices for "Running Training Like a Business." Those
practices are still being shaped. What we can do is describe an emerging concept, one which we're still learning about ourselves, but which has already demonstrated remarkable power to making training significantly more valuable to everyone in business."

Training and development professionals hold their futures in their own hands. They can continue on the traditional path or embark on the road less traveled, where the pace is fast, the destination is clear and the power of workplace learning becomes reality. Trolley and van Adelsberg's book is their map for the journey.


"Running Training Like a Business: Delivering Unmistakable Value," David van Adelsberg and Edward A. Trolley, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., San Francisco,
ISBN: 1-57675-059-0, 218 pages.
Reviewed by Jeffrey Burt
September '99 News for a Change | Email Editor
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