- Standardize First.
Lifelong learning programs that have successfully centralized operations have first standardized processes. This way staff can be cross-trained and all be following the same processes. Centralizing without standardizing can cause confusion and reduce productivity. It is impossible to get everything standardized before centralizing, but even 50-75% better supports centralization of operational tasks. Standardize, then Centralize!
- Tasks Not Program Areas.
Many lifelong learning programs look to centralize operations around program area requirements instead of around tasks. Individual staff should have accountability for certain unique areas, like financial reporting, but with 80% of operations tasks more general, it is better to think in terms of taking on and being able to share tasks. This thinking supports work getting done during peak times, as well as developing support processes that are consistent across all program area.
- No Cold Calls.
It is a myth that contract training or operations sales staff should be making cold calls. It is much better to be scheduling meetings for salespeople – possibly using an inside sales position – so they can spend more time meeting and less time trying to call. To get a meeting set up it is better to have the salesperson be able to present a product or service that demonstrates a need of the client (soft sell), thus the importance of understanding the various needs of a client market segment.