By Theresa Seagraves (ASTD Press/SHRM, $36.95)
There are a number of good old sayings here in the American South, and among my favorites is, "Don't wear a tuxedo to sell farm equipment." Author Seagraves must have heard this one, too. Her central point is that training professionals wanting a seat at the executive table must learn to think and act like executives. This includes grasping the differing perspectives of top, middle, and lower executives, communicating in terms of the measures they use, and learning to think in fiscal-year time.
Seagraves says it again and again: If we are to prove our worth, we must stop talking the language of training and start talking the language of business. As she notes, other types of executives are not promoted without knowledge of business operations, and executives do not accept people without this knowledge as their peers.
Seagraves acknowledges the discomfort—even fear—experienced by non-executives faced with deciphering balance sheets and operating earnings measures. A woman after my own heart, she empathizes Jane-style by saying: "Perhaps this seems like a great deal of work. Well, it is." Too bad if you don't like math, and too bad if you don't have an MBA. It is your job to prove your value and this is how you can do it.
Quick! Show Me Your Value has several really good features, including the frequent "here's the point" exclamation-mark icons and a CD containing full-size printable copies of the book's many worksheets. This one's a good resource for training professionals seeking to better connect with key players and articulate training's connection to the bottom line. —J.B.