You may have been down this road before. A very intelligent, accomplished and articulate manager or director tells you that he wants a training program and wants it done in an arbitrarily-chosen time frame. The good troop that you are, you salute, and do your darnedest to create a viable training program in an absurdly ridiculous time frame. You might have packed in a great deal of information which left the instructors or you very little wiggle room other than to lecture your way through it. You go into the classroom, give it your all, train dozens or hundreds of people, and the training does not alter performance or behavior.
Who gets blamed, the manager who gave you the assignment or you?
It’s time to rewind.
1. You will want to know why training is the only solution and what they expect the training to accomplish.
2. Ask them what level of achievement they expect the training to produce. Are they looking for people to become aware of the skill, familiar with it, skill proficient, experts or masters? Managers usually expect the last two levels in the shortest amount of time. Your question will force them to have more realistic expectations.
3. Insist that training has every manager’s support. Just one “forget-that-stuff-you-learned-in-training” comment can destroy all the learning that occurred. Tell them that mentors, coaches, management support and follow-up questions and observation are instrumental to behavioral or performance change.
4. Next you might have to overcome an unrealistic time frame. Too many managers are quite comfortable selecting time frames before they even know what is going into your training. Once you have created your objectives that are aligned with management’s expectations, present the training plan to them with your time frame. If the time frame is challenged, ask them which part of the training they would like removed.
Let management know that all these factors are critical to the results they expect from your training. The failure at any level will probably doom the results.