7 tips for developing commercial skills in your organisation

MDA Training Training Provider

7 tips for developing commercial skills in your…

1) Link the L&D solution to the commercial context of your organisation to create a clear link to how the solution will generate value

A commercially-grounded, well designed solution can easily be linked back to how it creates value in the workplace making justification of the L&D spend relatively simple.  Even when the learning need sounds straightforward, quite often a little research establishes the real learning needs of an intended population and how these new skills, knowledge and insights need to be applied in the workplace.  Focusing on workplace application often leads to a number of critical design issues that can be incorporated right from the start.

2) Make knowledge and ideas valuable through practical application

Participants may need to acquire new knowledge and skills, but new knowledge and skills are not sufficient to encourage new ways of working.  Enabling participants’ to apply their new understanding in realistic workplace situations is key, helping focus the learning from ‘education to application’.

3) Ensure a clear rationale and explain the learning need in terms of its relevance to the business and commercial environment

Concentrating on describing the real commercial issues that are creating a particular learning need and then positioning such needs in ways that clearly demonstrate to prospective participants that the learning event is relevant to them is so important in marketing the L&D solution internally and gaining buy in from all parties.

Filtering from this, the solution can then be designed and developed taking its cue from the commercial rationale that is driving the intervention.  This way, learning solutions can stay focused on the underlying issues of importance, rather than wander into esoteric territory which is of little value to the majority of delegates.

4) Ensure learning objectives describe what the learner will be able to do

Expressing objectives in terms of what the learner will be able to do (and not what the trainer will do) may seem subtle, but it turns on its head the typical approach to the design of learning events.  Instead of focusing on topics, the approach should concentrate on learning and capabilities relevant to the workplace, and again, linked to the bigger picture of how this fits with the commercial context of your business.  Well though-out objectives also form the basis of a purposeful evaluation of the extent to which each learning event has delivered workplace improvements, and ultimately generated value.

5) Deliver in an everyday language, cut through jargon and ensure everything is centred on the learner

Starting with the learner at the heart of design and planning, helps ensure the gradual build-up of learning in appropriate and manageable chunks.  It also ensures the solution is pitched at the right level for the intended audience.  This is especially important in programmes of a technical or financial nature; cutting through the technical jargon and presenting complex subjects in a clear everyday language helps learners understand how they can improve their contributions to the underlying performance of their business units and which value drivers they can influence.  Everyone has a role to play in creating value, it is not the preserve of senior management and a well-planned and structured learning solution can bring this to life.

6) Make the learning experiential

Incorporating interactive and engaging exercises, simulations and activities that offer first-hand practice for learners to help develop their real understanding is vital in any L&D solution regardless of platform - in-class, online or mobile.  Such an approach ensures learners get the opportunity to internalise new ideas, and check whether they have developed an adequate understanding.

It also allows learners to have a go at experimenting with new ideas in a practical context and the opportunity for reflection about the effectiveness of their efforts.  It also helps learners identify the areas that need further support and provides encouragement to actually use new skills and capabilities in the workplace, following the success of their experiences during the learning process.

7) Offer your people flexibility in how they learn

Technology and media-based solutions designed for online or mobile distribution offer real flexibility in the way people learn, and most importantly minimise time away from the workplace where your people can be doing their jobs and generating value.  A lot of e-learning and webinars get bad press for not really engaging audiences.  However, the fact that a learning solution is delivered outside of a classroom does not mean that it has to be scaled back and stripped of experiential elements, interactivity and engagement.  Technology-based solutions can be just as effective as more traditional classroom-based events if there is a strong focus on design and development, and if the learner is at the heart of the solution.  Virtual learning, interactive PDFs, e-learning, downloadable media, apps and social platforms are all powerful learning vehicles, each offering a vast array of functionality and interactivity to engage audiences and deliver against your learning outcomes.

About MDA Training

For over 25 years we have helped our clients improve their financial and operating performance through highly engaging learning solutions that are relevant to the workplace.

At MDA Training we believe a broad range of commercial skills offers a wider choice of actions when deciding how to be most effective at work.  Our bespoke programmes focus on building the commercial skills of your people within the specific context of your business and industry.  This way, your people understand how to respond to the genuine business challenges and to contribute to the success of your organisation.  We help build these vital skills by stripping away unnecessary complexity to focus on the fundamental issues.  And our practical, engaging and structured approach helps to support your people within the context of their actual work environment, encouraging them to try out new ways of working and experience for themselves the success of their activities.

Working in close partnership with our clients we create unique learning solutions that have a strong focus on application to the workplace.  Our fresh and innovative solutions are always commercially focused and highly experiential, enabling your people to “learn by doing” in a context that is relevant to them.  Drawing on our blend of unique business and industry simulations, interactive workshops and innovative range of media solutions, and over 25 years’ experience and expertise, we will deliver a learning solution that meets your exact needs and generates a substantial return on your investment.
  • Commercial skills
  • Business skills
  • Finance skills
  • Commercial leadership
MDA Training Training Provider

MDA Training is a leading provider of commercially-focused, tailored learning solutions. We specialise in financial and commercial skills, leadership and management development and graduate…


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