If you work for a business, be a business person.
T+D (formerly called Training & Development) is the magazine of ASTD (formerly known as the American Society for Training & Development). The cover story of the last issue tells WLP (workplace learning and performance) professionals that Business Acumen is Priority One.
The article, Build Your Business Acumen, tells us that we WLP professionals "need to think and talk like their internal customers." The article advises readers to understand the business and how it operates, to use business terminology to gain credibility, to recognize business priorities, to create a value proposition, and to advance the learning and performance business agenda. Follow the instructions and you can become an Enabler, trusted by management to help run the business.
This is fine advice but it doesn't go far enough. You can do more than sharpen your business acumen, use management's vocabulary, and position yourself as an understanding, savvy helper. Instead of acting like a business person, why not become one? "Earning a seat at the table" is not enough; you need to be invited back frequently.
If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it's a duck. If a WLP professional looks like a business person, walks like a business person, and talks like a business person, why shouldn't she join a business community of practice and become a business person?
Am I being too subtle? You are paid to help create value, not to train people or design learning environments: those are but the means to an end. Make yourself profitable. Add value. Don't fake it. Just do it.
As Janis Joplin advised, "Don't compromise yourself. You're all you've got." Esse quam videri.