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

Being Noble Is Not Enough

"doing the right thing" for your company is not a simple issue

(reprinted from The Training Tipsheet)

Most of the training professionals I know are attracted to this kind of work in part because they want to do good. They see inherent value, even virtue, in educating individuals so they can be more efficient, more productive, lower risk, so they generate more beneficial outcomes and fewer hassles for themselves and for the company that employs them.

In short, they take some pride in being a part of a helping profession, in doing their work well so that others can do their work better.

But doing good is simply not enough.

The inherent goodness of more aware, more knowledgeable, more skillful employees may be obvious to you as a training professional. But it is probably a lot harder to see for the managers and supervisors – your internal clients – whose employees you are training.

Your clients are people who are struggling to juggle a multitude of considerations. Sure, if they had unlimited time and resources, they might love to train the daylights out of every employee.

But they have to balance time in training against time on the job. They have to weigh the costs of training against other demands on limited resources. They cannot afford to do the right thing in the narrow sense of maximizing training, because they are charged with doing the right thing on a much broader scale.

And, unfortunately, training professionals lose sight of their clients' challenging world all too easily.

I know this because I work extensively with independent, freelance training consultants. Almost all of those consultants start their careers as corporate training employees. It is through their success in the corporate environment, as part of a training function, that they become aware of their effectiveness as facilitators and coaches and trainers. They discover that they have the talents and skills needed to influence behavior, and eventually they go out on their own to share those talents with a wider audience.

I find that many of these independent training consultants are exceptional trainers indeed. And they are just as often exceptionally weak marketers of their services. In their previous corporate lives, they focused just on the training component of their work, and assumed its value would be obvious to almost anyone. They had little need or opportunity to learn how to present the benefits of training, and to weigh those benefits against costs in time and money in discussions with their clients, so that those clients could easily see that value for themselves.

If you want to do good for your company and its employees, you have to do a good job of looking at things from your clients' perspectives. If you seek the opportunity to do what is obviously, to you, of value and benefit to the company, you need to make that value and those benefits obvious to the management and supervisory staff whose employees you are educating and influencing.

At some fundamental level, most training professionals believe that the training they offer should be implemented "because it is the right thing to do." But that's no more justification than when a child asks you, "Why do I have to do this?" and you answer, "Because!"

Be proud that you are in a profession that does good things for people. Just don't expect that to be enough to earn you the opportunity to do that good.

© 2012 Best Training Practices -- Will Kenny

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