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

"How Can They Think That Way?!"

know WHY other company functions do not understand what you do

(reprinted from The Training Tipsheet)

If you are involved with the training department in a medium- to large-sized organization, whether as a staff member or as an external consultant, you probably experience some frustrations with what you see as the "attitude" of some other functions within the company.

Maybe they constantly paint training as merely a cost, rather than an investment -- and an unnecessary cost at that. Perhaps they see training not as a resource that can help them, but simply as a competitor for resources. Or maybe they believe in training their employees, but would rather do it without any involvement ("interference") from the training department.

At some point, after hearing these kinds of comments, fighting these attitudes, wrestling with those individual managers, you are tempted to shout to the rooftops, "How can they think that way?"

Good question.

And one you should try to answer.

I know that you ask that question in frustration, that it is a rhetorical expression of annoyance. In that form, it is also a waste of energy and time. It only hardens your own attitudes toward working with some individuals and departments, leading to further deterioration of relationships that are probably hurting the company's overall performance. It feels good, but accomplishes nothing.

Change that question from a rhetorical one to a real one. Change the source of that question from frustration to curiosity.

In other words, give some serious thought to how they have come to their attitudes and opinions. Oh, sure, occasionally you run into a cranky, unreasonable manager -- but not as often as you would like to believe, so don't use that for an excuse.

The truth is, from their own points of view, these antagonists of yours are perfectly sane and reasonable. Past experience and current pressures influence their judgments in ways that may make it hard for them to see what you offer.

Maybe they had some less-than-ideal experiences with training staff in the past. Maybe they are so desperate to get resources for projects and programs of their own that they see absolutely every other function of the company as a rival. Perhaps they simply do not understand how they can work with you to their benefit, and they don't feel like they have the time to find out.

Put aside your frustration and try to understand why they view training as they do. Work to open conversations that put aside defensiveness or argument. Recognize that it will take time for them to trust your motives in asking about their reasons for their beliefs about training. Swallow your pride, if you have to.

But ask.

© 2011 Best Training Practices -- Will Kenny

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