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Partnership: the genuine article means doing environmental training WITH your stakeholders – not FOR them or TO them

Last night in a mentoring session with the wonderful Ann Andrews, she asked, “If you had someone from your target audience right in front of you, what are 5 key tips you would like to give them?”

Having something of a thing about alliteration, I came up with 5 Ps: Partnership, Personas, Performance, Process and Proof. I’ll write about these over the next five weeks – starting today with Partnership.

I believe with all my heart – and every bit of my experience tells me it’s true – that partnership is THE fundamental platform of an environmental training program (and probably every other kind of training program, as well!). 

Q: How soon is too soon to approach your stakeholders about your training ideas? A: It’s never too soon. Whether you are an in-house or external corporate trainer, a government agency or a not-for-profit, start talking to your key internal and external partners while the idea is still a sparkle in your eye. That way, they will appreciate that you are genuinely seeking their involvement as a partner in developing a training program that will work for everyone. 

This is especially important when there is a legal compliance aspect to the training: for example, helping people do restorative stream bank planting does involve delivering training to help them gain maximum plant survival rates and the ecological and other benefits that will result. Most such programs are supportive, incentive-based programs and your trainees would not be subject to enforcement if they didn’t do any planting at all, or didn’t do it as well as desired. By contrast, unauthorized discharges of sediment or other contaminants are illegal in any environmental jurisdiction, so any training partners carrying out activities that pose such environmental risks are potentially exposed to enforcement action (I’ll talk about this more in “Proof” in a few weeks time). Involving them as genuine partners from the earliest stages of your thinking will make it more likely that the desired Performance and training Processes are workable and endorsed by the industry – something that will be crucial for uptake of your training.

I’ve seen two compliance-based programs go down different tracks in a way that clearly demonstrates this. One was initiated in full partnership with the industry and 20 years later, is still thriving, with the industry itself embracing the benefits of good environmental performance and continually striving to raise the bar. The other was a “top-down” model where the standards were imposed on the industry with little consultation, and over 15 years later, is still mired in legal disputes and cynical compliance.

It’s a no-brainer that partnership is a good idea. Why not jot down right now who your key internal and external partners might be, and how you might approach them?
By the way – the glitches on my website have now been ironed out – but we’ve discovered that some organizations’ firewalls prevent people from signing up for the free ebook – this is the first stage in accessing the free resources that go with the “Seven Steps” book. If you have any trouble, please email me, because I can sign up for you, and you can then go on to a page called “My resources” and download all the free resources that go with the “Seven Steps” book.  

And if you have been trying to pay for a copy of that book (thank you!) the purchasing system is now fully enabled…. 

Click here to find out more about Ann Andrews’ website: it’s chock-full of wonderful training and other resources.