Business Challenge #3: Training

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The business challenge series is heating up as we start 2013.  Training has become one of the greatest challenges for businesses as they enter the new year.  Problems continue in higher education as graduates leave programs with a promise of a job and yet seem to be without some of the critical skills needed to accomplish the task.  Leaders in current roles are needed to lead corporations to new heights and managers need to be trained and know how to train.

So, whether you are small, mid-sized or enterprise this blog post is for you. Below are my suggestions to incorporating a successful training platform into your organization:

1) Vision: Too bad vision is overused and diluted.  Simply put, vision is the preferred future.  It is your preferred future as it pertains to the skill and competency level of your people. Skill and competencies are the infrastructure of that person running the halls of your organization.  Are they able to sell? Are they able to use Excel? Are they able to lead a meeting effectively? Are they able to manage? Can they do the technical work? Do  they understand your product? What is that end vision of that person?  You may need to break this vision down into parts.  For example: Line workers may not need the same stuff as the VP.

2) Survey The Staff:  Whether you are a training manager or CEO begin to assess your people.  Start with an evaluation of what you have done in the past, what they are doing currently and what they want or need.  At this point, you have brought them into the process and also started to understand their felt needs. As a leader, you need to give them training around their felt and real needs, which ties back to your vision.

3) Training Circles: No, this is not revamped version of Pilates.   Noel Tichy’s concentric circles for employee training can be very helpful as you think about your people.  Identify your employee’s Comfort Zone or skills they do easily and then identify their Learning Zone needs.   This will push your people just enough, but not to the unreachable skills in the Panic Zone.

4) Outside or Inside:  If you bring in individuals from the outside, you might bring that person in to meet the attendees prior to talk through the agenda to make sure the facilitator wins and you win.  If it is inside, then by golly have them vet the ideas and objectives to leadership prior to the session.

5) Call It Something:  I just left a client meeting where they called their training platform something rather exciting and catchy. If you are big, give it a brand.  If you are small, give it a project name and go.

6) Perfection Is Not The Goal: That is right if you are waiting to find that perfect topic or waiting for people to stop complaining or have written out the project syllabus 15 times, then you will never get started.  Do a few and then evaluate. Do the reverse of step #1.  Just ask them to tell you how it is going.

7) Leadership Alignment: If you do not have leadership or management attend and implement then you are simply a one and done kinda trainer. Not a problem, just do not expect folks to actually apply the hard work you have put into the program.

Seven tips for 2013, not too shabby!