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Best Training Practices
Will Kenny
3927 York Ave N
Robbinsdale, MN 55422

Typist or Editor? Assistant or Partner?

Is your training dept. a collaborator or just a service?

(reprinted from The Training Tipsheet)

When someone requests training services from you to help their department or function improve employee performance, communicate strategies and practices, or reinforce values and standards, how do they see you? How would they describe your role?

If the analogy were that they were putting out a very important memo on a key practice or initiative, one that had to work, that had to be just right, would they see your role as the typist, or as an editor, or possibly a co-author?

In other words, do they believe they are simply delegating tasks to you, or are they working with you as a colleague or partner?

This is no trivial question. We delegate tasks to save time and costs. Delegation usually implies passing on a task to someone whose time is less valuable than our own.

Mind you, for some projects or some situations, delegating training development and delivery make sense. And delegation does not mean that the helper has no skills. If you dictate a memo and have someone transcribe it into final form, you are taking advantage of the fact that the transcriber can do this sort of thing much faster that you can, due to experience and specialized skills. At the same time, you probably expect the total cost to the company to be less than if you took the time to perfect the memo, in both form and content, yourself.

So, certainly, sometimes training help is called in to handle a fairly well defined task more quickly, or with less cost, or both.

But if your clients, whether internal or external, see you in that role most of the time, that limits the contribution you can make. And it also measures your value in terms of speed and cost. In fact, it tends to define the effectiveness of the training itself largely in terms of delivery efficiency.

Many training departments and consultants bring this on themselves, by constantly highlighting cost-effective delivery. They fail to broaden the conversation around training needs to reflect benefits to the company, best methods (not just quickest or cheapest) for achieving desired outcomes, and so on.

I'm not telling you what to do. Whatever role, or combination of roles, suits you is fine with me. I'm just suggesting that you make this a conscious decision, instead of accidentally backing yourself into one corner or another.

When your next request for training services comes in, ask yourself:

  • Do they just see this as quicker/easier/cheaper?
  • Or do they see this as an area where your expertise will improve the message and heighten its impact?

Oh, and by the way, having answered those questions, let me ask one more: how do you know you are right about that?

© 2011 Best Training Practices -- Will Kenny

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