Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Organizational Mythology #3 - Training Changes Organizations

Although billions of dollars are spent in training sessions every year, the hard reality is this: Training, by itself, doesn't change organizations.

Where does the mythology arise that training is a solution to everything?

  1. Perceptual default to familiar classroom settings where information was shared.
  2. Conviction that employees will change their leadership, management, work habits if they simply attend a seminar.
  3. Managerial frustration with a current situation can motivate leaders to send people to training.

What do we observe in our own training experiences?

  1. We often gain awareness of a perceived gap in knowledge.
  2. We may be energized to try something new after we sit through a workshop.
  3. Many of the three ring binders of material (or online workshops) we reviewed gathered dust over time.
  4. It takes much effort to integrate new knowledge within the DNA of an organization.
So how can training be used?

Learning changes organizations, not training.

  1. Training is an adjunct to organizational learning.  It is a helper to bring awareness.
  2. Managerial support of new learning is critical for the 'training' to take hold.
  3. Repetition is the mother of learning ... training must be repeated (irregular intervals are best!)
  4. Distributed practice is best ... short sessions of intense learning are superior to long, exhausting sessions.
How should organizations use training for maximum impact and ROI?

  1. Use training in the context of change, as a critical part of learning the new system, new roles, and new processes.
  2. Use training developed specifically for the project at hand - not a cookie-cutter version. 
  3. Follow-up or foul up.  Reinforcing learning is essential to integrating training into the culture.
As a trainer, I endorse training for it's value; as a manager, I endorse training as a necessary part of a greater solution; as a leader I recognize the importance of truly integrating training into the DNA of my company through repetition, accountability for learning and follow-through.


1 comment:

  1. "Nobody is a natural CEO. You lean on the job, and the job is hard and weird and awkward and unnatural ... and psychologically damaging."

    ~ Ben Horowitz
    February 2013
    p. 18