Is The Business Training Model Broken?

Well, I believe it is.  I see lots of good things happening with regards to how training is being built but there are some fundamentals that we need to overcome to make true progress and, whilst many of us think we are changing, we simply aren’t!

Crime And Punishment?

Let’s start with the first and, for some, the biggest issue.  Training within business is often viewed as a punishment. No it’s not, I hear you say! Well I know that some of the businesses we work with, this is true but for so many others it is not. 

Consider the following phrases and consider whether you have heard these:

  • If you don’t improve your performance, I am going to send you on training
  • Here are the standards, if you don’t meet these, we have training for you to attend
  • It is part of the standards that you must attend this training

Each one of these positions training as a chore that must be done as dictated by others more senior in the food chain.  The results?  Well, ask yourself, given these statements how would you view it if your manager said “I’m sending you on training”.  Off to the naughty step we go.

The Bigger Issues

Now, we need some context on this around the wider subject of learning and our approach to it.  Learning can come from anywhere; an article in a magazine, a briefing document, the people around you as well as training, mentoring and coaching.  Yet, how many of us actively seek it?  I am in a very lucky position; I live in a world where I am constantly learning, be it taking a training brief, writing a programme, preparing for the delivery of a course or through my participants when delivering training.  It has made learning a constant part of my life and, as my skills have developed so has my learning.  I actively seek opportunities to learn but not necessarily from traditional sources.  

The Three Rs

How many of you, as business leaders or managers truly do this?  Can you say that you learn every week?  I know that many will say we just don’t have time and we are successful already.  Yes, I am sure both of those are true.  However, our job as trainers is not just to provide new information but also to deliver what we call the 3Rs:

  • Remind – participants about the things they may have forgotten or at least have dropped down their priorities list
  • Reinforce – the fact that they are doing good things and that these should be continued
  • Reinvigorate – participants into believing in what can be achieved and enjoying their work

The thing is if we are not learning, how can we encourage our teams to learn?  Many look to us for an example, so if we aren’t providing the right example, then what does that tell them?

We need to move away from thinking about learning as an additional activity and move it into something that is a key part of our lives – even better if it is part of our personal and business lives.

We know that change is a constant and learning helps us embrace the changes that are around us.  

No, if we want to see real change in our businesses, we need to embrace and even lead change and we can only do that by keeping up to date with the latest learning.  

Your Role

From this we can encourage learning and, by this, I don’t just mean lead by example but task those attending programmes or taking other learning to action what they learn.  I’ve lost count of the number of participants I get that when asked at the beginning of the session what they want from the training, respond “I don’t know”.  Not to mention those who go on to say “I just got told by the boss to come here”.  I’ve even had “The boss told me to come here or we would lose bonus”.  Then we wonder why these people have a negative impression of training!

As trainers, we can only train those who want to learn – sending people on training to tick boxes just wastes their and our time.  Just like most things, when you send your team on training, please sit with them and set what you and they want from the training.  Once the training is complete, debrief them and help them apply the learning. You will find a huge improvement in the impact of training on your bottom line.  Isn’t it worth this investment to have more effective, more profitable teams?

Our Role

From a training perspective we need to do our bit too.  Using the latest technology, we can make training more accessible, improve impact and enjoyment.  It requires more than technology; we need to redefine some of the fundamentals that we have taken as non-negotiables in the past.  We must change the participant assumptions most training is currently based on; we need to reconsider what we know as interaction.

These are both paradigm shifts that will take time and effort to establish but we have seen these shifts on a smaller scale and we know they work.  It’s why we have created My Mojo Zone.  Exciting times are coming, so watch this space.