Why Your Training Doesn’t Work

5 08 2009
A colleague sent me an article today by Hilson Yeap Chee Heng that encapsulated the seven reasons training programs typically fail, and what you could do about it.  You can read the full article at www.ArticleBiz.com, and I recommend you do.  In a nutshell, reasons two through six were:
  • Often training has no connection to the strategic objectives of the organization, not supported in the organization—or given the time to work.
  • The piling on the work paradigm.People may resent having to be in the training because they don’t understand why they’re there, and they know they’ll have to work harder when they get back to the job to catch up.
  • Old habits are hard to break! Habits are especially hard to break when there is no support for the new skills and behaviors back in the workplace.
  • One size fit all syndromes; management doesn’t really know who needs the new skills and knowledge.”
  • The lone ranger situation. No one they work with has the same new skills and knowledge that they do. Without support, as a Lone Ranger, the new ideas they bring back may not get implemented due to peer resistance or ignorance.
  • Training time is compacted in the name of practicality or efficiency. Trainers are asked to complete the training in shorter and shorter time blocks.
Anyone who has spent any time in training and development will readily recognize any or all of these problems, and most have to do with planning and expectation control.  The one that really sticks with me, though, has to do with accountability:

Reason #1:
People rarely are held responsible for using what they learned in a course or workshop when they get back to the workplace.

It is my humble opinion that the lack of accountability is one of the two most rampant social problems we have (the lack of true leadership being the other), so it's no surprise to find that it crops up almost everywhere we encounter difficulties with people.  Accountability is everything, but the biggest source of accountability should be yourself.  The failure to hold yourself accountable for using what you learn, for doing what you say you will, for accepting your portion of responsibility in the problems you have in life, all cause you grief by varying levels.  I wish it was a skill that could be taught rather than a value that has to be passed on, because the fewer people that have a value, the fewer will have it in the next generation, magnifying the problem.

Okay, enough of the soapbox.  Sorry, I get carried away sometimes.

So how do we combat the problem of accountability in training without being able to suddenly bestow upon everyone the gift of self-accountability?  Hilson suggests:
  • Give people a clear message before participating in training what the expectations of them will be when they return.
  • Plan some time with the participant both before and after the training session.
  • Let participants know before they attend that an action plan is expected as a result of the training session.

And afterwards he adds, in parenthesis, Then be interested in the outcome.

Actually, I think that should have been bold, all caps, and possibly double-underlined.  Because if you aren't interested in the outcome, why on earth would anyone else be?

Follow-through is everything: whether its a golf swing or a training program.  Take and maintain an active interest in your outcomes, because without those, you're not adding value in the long run.  And in this day and age, you can't afford not to be adding value.

Posted via email from NetWeave Threads

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