Training as a system

Training as a system

I am a great believer in process led business… I’m one of those people who reads the E-Myth by Michael Gerber twice a year.

I’m also a believer in systemic business – that any business is a set of interlocking systems that support each other in achieving goals. That’s why I get slightly worried when I hear stories like the one a colleague told me earlier today.

She was running a Sales Programme for a sizable sales team. She had completed some research and done her homework… she knew the business and understood the product. She also understood why clients would buy this product before they chose a similar offering from the opposition.

In short, she knew what she was talking about.

The delegates came from different teams and they were engaged, happy to be there and had clearly decided the programme was going to help them achieve better results (and, therefore, be paid more).

Except one.

There was this guy who refused to join in. He sat with his arms folded and rebuffed any attempt to bring him into the group.

My colleague decided that she couldn’t let this happen and took him to one side at the first opportunity. When she asked him (in her politest Scottish tones) what the hell he thought he was playing at, he gave her an equally full and frank reply.

He had been sent to this development programme. He had no briefing with his manager – just an e-mail telling when and where he needed to be. He had no clue what he might get out of it or why his manager felt he needed as remedial course (as he saw it).

He felt as though he had been sent on a training programme ‘to be fixed’. No wonder he was resentful!

This reminded me of a paper I wrote about a year ago for a business. It said that the ‘training course’ itself is only one very small part of developing a person. When a team member goes on a training programme they should have a pre-course briefing with their manager to set the course in context and to some goals. By the same token there should be a post-course de-brief to make sure goals have been met and to plan implementation.

It sounds like a huge commitment especially when you are busy, but it doesn’t have to be and the advantages can be huge. Just half an hour dedicated to your team member could make you an awful lot of money later as that team member is motivated to learn what they can from the programme and then implement it in your business. We all know an investment in training can be a big one and there are ways of getting much more out of it!

That’s what we mean by the phrase training is a system. I’ve only described part of it here, but, as a manager, if you follow these three steps: Pre-course brief – training programme – post-course debrief you will find that your training investment generates much more value.

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