eLBX Online Recap - Becoming a Learning Business Partner

eLBX Online Recap- Becoming a Learning Business Partner

Many L&D professionals have dreams of being taken more seriously in our organization and leading more impactful learning and performance improvement experiences. Rarely do we have the opportunity, though. We’re told it will take too long or cost too much, and to just get it done.

But what if there were a better way?

In this eLBX Online session, Misty Harding, Senior Learning Consultant, covered:

  • What it means to be a business partner/trusted advisor, and how it enables you to deliver next level results to learners while furthering your own career
  • The current habits, behaviors, and tactics you might be employing that detract from the perception that you are a business partner
  • How to get in touch with what your stakeholders want from you, and deliver it

As Misty shared, most learning & development (L&D) professionals really want to help people using the methodologies and techniques we’ve learned. Watch the webinar recording at the end of this post to hear her own L&D origin story.

But then we get into the real world and find that people don’t want our solutions, or don’t want to pay for them, and instead of being the learning consultant we dreamed about, we are treated like order takers. It’s frustrating and limiting.

But there’s a way to overcome that obstacle. It just requires a little shift in thought, as you’ll see.

L&D People Love Learners

They’re always thinking:

  • How do they learn best?
  • Are they engaged?
  • What’s the best learning environment?
  • What new tools, technologies, or methods would help them?

“I am a gateway to people feeling competent. People feeling happy in their careers. That’s something that motivates me.”

-Misty Harding


Learning & development professionals often hit roadblocks when asking for additional funding, new software, additional training time to include more interactivity, etc. The roadblocks come from clients, marketing, operational leaders, human resources, and other stakeholders.


The stakeholders often have different accountabilities and needs from the L&D department.

examples of misaligned business objectives between L&D and operational leaders

Learning how to reframe your training asks to better align with operational priorities can get more of your requests approved.

But how do you do that?

By becoming a learning business partner.

Misty walked attendees through different ways to phrase budget and time requests to show stakeholders how the expenditure can impact their metrics and business goals.


The more you prove that you understand the business and you’re working to improve the bottom line, the more you become a true business partner.

6 Things You Can Evaluate Right Now to Increase Your Level of Partnership and Start Getting Different Outcomes

  1. Get To Know Your Business

    1. How does the company make money?
    2. What are the current business goals? How are they quantified?
    3. What metrics/KPIs are your stakeholders accountable for?
    4. What are the biggest threats to the business or to revenue?
  2. Know the Performance Landscape

    1. Business Metrics
    2. Performance Indications
    3. Behaviors
    4. Human Performance Improvement Levers
  3. Become Data-Driven

    1. Find existing data
    2. Create new data
    3. Convert data
    4. Use data
  4. Inventory Your Priorities

    1. Find a shared concern and alignment between L&D priorities and Business priorities
  5. Go From Naysayer to Nimble

    1. Instead of just saying no, show what priorities or goals would have to be shifted to accomplish the ask
    2. Work smarter inside your own process to save time or money
  6. Professional Status Check

    1. What behaviors, actions, inactions, habits, etc. could detract from your personal brand or from you being seen as a trusted advisor?

Watch the full recording of “eLBX Online 2020: How To Push for Quality by Becoming a Learning Business Partner” right now. Sign up below for free access.