Thursday, 18 May 2017

The trouble with training


It’s more important for success than technology, strategy, and even products. The only way for your organisation to survive and thrive in the long run is the ability to keep developing your staff. 

Having spent the last ten years designing and delivering interpersonal skills training and leadership development programs for dozens of companies in both Europe and Western Australia, I’ve seen a lot of what works. And what doesn’t.

I believe it is time for some new rules to make training more productive than problematic. 
Starting with these 3 hard-and-fast rules:  

Rule 1: 70-20-10
Have you ever sat in a classroom all day for a training program, wondering “how much longer??” Of all the things we do to educate, the least valuable of all are the endless hours we force people to sit still and … “learn”. The 70-20-10 rule suggests learning from challenging assignments like role play simulations should account for 70% of training time, with 20% from peer-to-peer learning and just 10% from traditional coursework. A great training program integrates all three. 

Rule 2: Eat your own cooking
I find it fascinating when I get asked to roll out a leadership development program to managers without the participation of senior executives. There is no replacement for them being involved as teachers, facilitators and coaches. And maybe even more important, if the CEO thinks it’s wise for middle managers to learn about, say, soft skills, why is the top management team not doing the same or similar? Not only does participation enhance the credibility, but it also helps share a common logic and language.

Rule 3: Customise to your world
Business schools and training organisations love to sell stuff off the shelf. It’s easier, it’s proven, it’s faster. But what works in the mining industry in Perth is not necessarily right in financial services in Sydney. Just like the best managers customise how they manage people on their teams, the same is true about the specific experience and content needed to train a group of individuals. How could it not be? One size most definitely does not fit all.

Nowadays vast amounts of money — into the tens of billions — are spent on training every year, but the return on investment in many cases doesn’t ad up. So make sure you don’t give the green light for yet another round, magically hoping that results will materialise while not doing anything different. 

Curious about how our Experiential Learning Solutions? Contact us here for a chat.  


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