A measurable business goal is a great way to focus your training and show how your work helps your organization -- that's why it's the first step in action mapping.
Unfortunately, most clients don't have a clear goal, so here's a quick formula that can help you connect what they want with what's good for the organization.
1. Choose your numbers
Identify a measure that the organization is already using that your project could help improve. Once you have that, decide how much you'll improve it and by when.
- "We need sales training" -- Sales will increase 5% by Q3
- "We need diversity training" -- Employee retention will increase 8% by 2015
- "We need training on conflict management" -- Grievances will decrease by 10% in two years
Obviously, the best measure will depend on the organization and its current strategies.
2. Identify in general terms what people will do
Your goal from step 1 could be enough, but it can help to add a second layer and mention in general terms what your audience will do differently.
- "We need sales training" -- Sales will increase 5% by Q3 as all sales people use the 5-step Customer Courtship Model
- "We need diversity training" -- Employee retention will increase 8% by 2015 as all managers better manage diversity
- "We need training on conflict management" -- Grievances will decrease by 10% in two years as team leaders better manage conflict on their teams
By making goals like this, we're not promising that our project alone will be responsible for the change in numbers. However, we're making clear that our project is directly tied to an important measure that affects the performance of the organization and we're serious about designing a solution that works.
When you involve the client and subject matter expert in setting this goal, you also start to turn their attention away from knowledge and toward changes in behavior. This can help loosen their obsession with information and save your audience from another ineffective information dump. It also makes it easier to suggest more agile solutions than training.