The biggest problem is that most people don’t know what they mean when they say “learning” or “training”. It slips out so easily. Learning and training become synonymous. They lose their meaning.
If you’re looking to buy a training solution for people in your organisation then you shouldn’t really be interested in learning at all, not yet anyway. All you should care about is performance. Training only fixes performance problems caused by lack of skills and/or knowledge. If we think of performance as a system, then it’s easy to identify many other factors that could be inhibiting the performance of your people.
So before you invest in training ask yourself the following questions..
Stage One: Clarity of Purpose
- Do you really understand what you want your people to do? Can you express it clearly?
- Do your people really understand what you want them to do? Can they explain it back to you?
(if the answer to either of these questions is “no” then the answer to Q3 is quite obvious)
- Do you or your people understand why they need to do the things you need them to do? Understanding why, is about understanding context. Without context everything is superficial and your results will be unsustainable.
Stage Two: Motivation
- Do your people care about the things you want them to do? If they aren’t motivated then you need to look at your managers, your reward and recognition or maybe you’re just hiring the wrong people.
Stage Three: Performance Capability
Only when people understand what is required, and feel motivated to achieve, is it worth investing in their development. You don’t want to buy a training programme or a learning intervention. You want your people to perform consistently to the highest levels of which they are capable. Let’s assume you have clarity of purpose and a hungry, motivated team, but they still aren’t performing as well as they could. Why aren’t they able to perform in the way you and they expect?
(Hint even then it’s not necessarily a training issue)
- Do they have effective equipment, infrastructure, systems and processes?
- Do they understand how to use them effectively?
- Do they lack confidence in their abilities?
- Have they ever performed effectively to the standards expected?
- Is poor performance rewarded or reinforced in some way?
- Do people receive regular constructive feedback on their performance?
These are just ten of the many questions every business owner ought to be asking themselves before picking up the phone to us, or any of our peers. If you haven’t asked them already, we’d be happy to talk them through with you.
(These questions and this approach are inspired by the work of Mager & Pipe)