In an ever-changing world that gives us information at our fingertips and with anything more than a two-day delivery window seeming like a lifetime, the “need it yesterday” mentality is not slowing down. As L&D professionals, we face this every day from stakeholders and senior leaders who, rather than seeking out their internal training departments with a problem, come to the table with their own idea of a training strategy and solution – and look to us to implement, and implement fast. Even worse in some cases, business leaders seek out other departments to deliver training, pushing L&D further into the shadows of the organization.

So, in this fast-paced, “need it yesterday” world, how can we stop serving as order takers and start leaning into being strategic partners?


The goal of the Change Action is to change on-the-job behavior, as opposed to just changing behavior by the end of a given course. Being seen as a strategic learning partner begins by understanding who the key stakeholders are, and what behavior change they expect to see in the workplace as a result of your learning cluster. In the LCD model, we focus on identifying and articulating what we call a strategic performance objective based on behavior change, rather than starting with the typical learning objective.

In line with the LCD model, in the Ask A Trainer column in TD Magazine, Instructional Design expert Tim Slade provides two tips for getting stakeholder buy-in for one of those tools, a needs analysis. Read Tim’s tips here.

The LCD Model not only provides a framework for creating modern learning assets, but it also outlines how to achieve a strategic business partnership with senior leaders.  At its core, the model first and foremost takes into account the change that business leaders expect within their organizations.  When L&D professionals shift their focus to creating a strategy that focuses on business impact over rigid programming, senior leaders and stakeholders start to recognize the value of the department, and a change towards a more strategic partnership can begin.

What is your experience with understanding and anchoring the learning design in a way that solves for the business pain?