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Making the Critical Shift to Becoming a Strategic Business Partner

Updated: Feb 5

As a L&D, Talent, or Organizational Development leader are you struggling to become the strategic business partner your organization needs now and for the long-term? Does it feel like you are more of an order taker then actually creating and leading the agenda forward in how your organization moves into the future?


Achieving the level of trust and integrity of being a strategic partner is typically best attained from leveraging the right mindsets from day one in your role – across your organization and the stakeholders you serve. This involves developing trust and credibility, which can be hard to build if some time in your leadership role has gone by. However, all is not lost if you are coming to the realization that you need to develop your reputation as a strategic business partner.


There are three key components to focus on to do so:

  1. Create Value: We first need to truly understand what is really most important to the organization and the stakeholders you serve now and for the long term. Value creation comes from understanding the purpose, priorities, problems, potential, and performance of individuals and the complex networks they are apart of. This must overlay the organization, region/department, and stakeholders’ priorities.

  2. Deliver Solutions: Create a full experience that matches the workflow, operations, and strategy of your stakeholders/employees. This means embedding learning into the day-to-day fabric of creating teachable moments all the way to projects where we are empowering them to create learning as an asset to build and maximize project teams to core departments. This then can align to more targeted interventions but ensures before, during, and after anything we are aligning the learning to becoming solutions.

  3. Generate Results: To ensure what we do generates real impact that we can sustain and replicate we have to look at empowering them to use, adopt, and expand what we have done in a continuous way so that it sits side by side with their desired results. This means breaking down the end results they are looking to achieve and see the steps or path they need to take whether sales process, coding, supply chain, etc. and ask what is the mindset and capability that need to be activated at each key stage to drive the desired results. That is where we guide them to use, adopt and expand what we are doing because it is now connected.


Becoming a strategic business partner takes time and should be a combined effort of all leaders within an organization. For this to occur, there are key mindset shifts needed. We need to start with moving away from being reactionary, such as acting as an order taker, to becoming more proactive as a strategic partner based on the steps above.


In our next blog, we’ll look at the second critical shift: moving away from building individual skills to activating organization capability.


Here’s to your success.

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