The Value of Simplicity
Have you ever taken courses, workshops, or read books where the concepts are fascinating? You were excited to apply the techniques on the job, and you did…for a while. Then, over time the enthusiasm fades, the concepts disappear, and you are back doing things the way you always did them. At least, that is what has happened to me more times than I care to remember. Some training did stick, though, when the concepts were simple and easy to remember and apply on the job. Whether it was technical or soft skill training, when I looked back, there were some common characteristics about the successful training initiatives that you can leverage.
There are lots of training alternatives and delivery methods. Look for courses that:
- Simplify the concepts, so they are easy to learn, remember and apply.
- Use creative ways to engage you in the content.
- Are easy to adapt to your specific role.
- Are easy to support and reinforce on the job
Sustainable Training Practices
Even with quality training, you still need the personal commitment to apply what you have learned to be entirely successful. Hopefully, you have the leadership support to help make the practices sustainable.
- Personal Commitment
While it is crucial for leaders to support your training, as an individual, you have the power to get the most out of training to improve your skills and advance your career. Organizations value individuals who are committed to lifelong learning and able to apply new skills and knowledge effectively. Here are some steps you can take to get the most out of your training.
- Look at training as an investment in yourself – whether it is for compliance purposes, a company requirement, or a course you have requested, there is always something to learn and apply to help you perform better. Approaching training positively will help you get more out of the course.
- Set Objectives – before you take a course or workshop, or participate in an on-the-job initiative, think about the benefits for you in your current or future roles and what you can do differently with the new knowledge. Work with your leader to ensure the expectations are clear. If you do nothing differently, then the training time was wasted.
- Develop support – being accountable to someone else to demonstrate new skills is a great way to reinforce what you learned. If you have taken the training with co-workers, ask someone to give you feedback or commit to each other to discuss how you are applying the new skills. Ideally, your leader is also supporting your new skills.
2. Leadership Support
Training can be costly in terms of time and money. If team members, or the entire team, take training and the leader does not support the effort, the training is not likely to stick. Some tips for leaders to maximize the return on the training investment include:
- Approach training positively – over the years, I have heard a common statement from leaders, “Why should I bother investing in their training because they just leave anyway?”. From my point of view, I see two options:
1. View Training negatively as largely a waste of money, where most people will take advantage and leave when their skills improve. It is typically the recipe for low morale and high turnover for a poor-performing team.
2. View training positively to build a high-performing team that will achieve exceptional results. In a supportive and positive learning environment, most will feel free to leave to pursue other opportunities but choose to stay because of the high-quality working environment and culture.
- Establish a good training process – to be effective; training needs to be reinforced on the job. The training might be entirely on-the-job or a blended workshop approach, online and on-the-job. Whatever the combination, make sure you set the process up to achieve sustainable results, which includes reinforcement on the job.
- Take the Training – when possible, take the training as well, so you better understand the benefits and set clear expectations for performance improvement.
- Make it matter – before team members go through training, work with them to set clear objectives on what you expect them to do differently and better after the training. Build it into their development and learning plans. It is incredible how learners will engage in the training when they know what they are expected to achieve and what is in it for them!
- Follow Up – after the training and at appropriate intervals, make observations, ask questions, and examine the results to see and reinforce the skills and behaviours you expect from the training investment.
Train to Succeed
Whether you are viewing training opportunities as an individual or a leader, you must understand how it can further the development of you and the team. Approach the opportunities positively and proactively by understanding the benefits and how to support one another to succeed. Check out our 4 STEPS/4 SKILLS™ training to learn and apply a practical and straightforward approach to training and competency.