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As of March of this year, 63% of Learning & Development (L&D) professionals agree that they have a seat at the executive table. That is a significant increase over the 24% who agreed with that same statement just one year prior.

Given their elevated role, L&D leaders have an opportunity to make their mark and strategically support their employees’ and company’s success in a way that they may not have in the past. As you are empowered to do more, I invite you to consider eight ways to shape your sphere of influence to advocate for employee development in 2021 and beyond.

1. Ground yourself in company objectives.

To help you identify where L&D can have the most positive impact on your organization, make sure you have a strong sense of the company’s short- and long-term goals. It may also behoove you to spend time with each member of the executive team to get a sense of their priorities for staff, learn about their expectations for the future and understand how they hope to see their functions evolve.

2. Get to know each leader as an individual.

In addition to learning about the objectives of your fellow executives, spend time developing relationships with them so you can build trust. For Emergenetics® Associates, I strongly encourage you to make sure leadership team members have taken their Emergenetics Profiles. Using insights from their Profiles, you can better match rapport and connect with them based on the ways they prefer to think, behave, communicate and collaborate.

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3. Identify where you wish to exert direct or indirect influence.

While you may have a seat at the table, not every topic of discussion is likely to need your direct influence. Take time to consider where L&D should take charge and have a prominent voice as well as other areas where you can share input and follow group consensus. Having a clear understanding of where your function should be a driving force can help you choose your battles more effectively.

4. Articulate a clear vision for Learning & Development initiatives.

With an understanding of your organization’s objectives, you can better identify opportunities where your team can play an instrumental role in the success of your company. By sharing a compelling vision for the future and describing the possibilities that L&D can help the organization realize, you can engage and galvanize your colleagues.

5. Explain how you can realize this vision.

Beyond sharing the big picture, it’s important to be realistic about what you can achieve and in what timeframe. After all, successful execution will support your company’s growth as well as build confidence with fellow leaders. Provide specific examples, timelines and metrics to demonstrate how you can bring your vision into reality.

6. Demonstrate the expertise you offer.

Help executives gain first-hand knowledge of the powerful programming that L&D can deliver so they can become advocates of your work. Identify a training that you can engage your leadership team in so that they can see the value of your programs. For Emergenetics Associates, I invite you to host a Meeting of the Minds or if you work with a smaller group, our Team Dynamics for Small Groups workshop may be just right. Participating in their own learning experience can help executives reap the benefits and see value to expand offerings for staff.

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7. Embrace the Flexibility spectrum.

As you enact your plan, it is important to be consistent and deliver what you agreed upon. In doing so, you can demonstrate accountability, which will further inspire confidence from your colleagues. And it is essential to remain open to change. As you help your organization navigate new developments, embrace the possibilities that come from transformation while also helping the leadership team to seek clarity around why a change will be enacted before moving in a different direction.

8. Communicate effectively.

To expand your sphere of influence, communication is essential. When you deliver a clear, relevant and meaningful message, those around you will have more trust in your capabilities. Emergenetics Associates again have an advantage in that you can review the Profiles of your colleagues and communicate in a way that speaks directly to the interests of their preferred Attributes. Out latest version of the Emergenetics+ mobile app, released just last month, can also help you in this endeavor by offering personalized communication tips.

10 Bonus Tips to Meaningfully Communicate Your Position

To help you confidently deliver your message, I invite all readers – Associates or not – to use the tips below. By considering and proactively addressing the interests of the Emergenetics Attributes, you can explain your position in a way that resonates with everyone in the audience:

  • Analytical: Speak to objective data points that support your solution
  • Structural: Explain day-to-day benefits of your position
  • Social: Share stories that connect your resolution to the needs of stakeholders
  • Conceptual: Describe the possibilities that come with your concept
  • Expressiveness
    • First-third: Actively listen to the input of your colleagues
    • Third-third: Serve as a sounding board to gather input
  • Assertiveness
    • First-third: Find commonalities between your position and others
    • Third-third: Be direct in stating your opinions
  • Flexibility
    • First-third: Explain the reasoning behind your position
    • Third-third: Share where you think there are still opportunities for refinement

For more tips on how you can communicate more effectively with your executive team, I invite you to read chapter 7 in recent eBook.

As you continue to partner with leadership to support the success of your organization, I will share one more motivating statistic:

64% of L&D professionals have seen a change in their function from a “nice to have” to a “need to have” in 2021.

Remember that your voice is essential in helping your company position itself for the future of work, and that means it is vital that you use your voice. By finding ways to connect with your executives, support company goals and communicate effectively, you will have a positive impact on leadership, your employees and your organization.

Want to learn more about how you can use Emergenetics to effectively lead your Learning & Development function? Explore our Certification programs or fill out the form below to speak with a member of our team today.

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