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Best Training Practices
Will Kenny
3927 York Ave N
Robbinsdale, MN 55422
612-978-3050

Train Fewer People in your Company

training the most people, or training the right people?

(reprinted from The Training Tipsheet)

Corporate training budgets and plans are commonly built around numbers, the bigger the better (from the perspective of the head of the training department!). Number of participants trained, number of courses or sessions delivered, that sort of thing.

It is a "burgers served" mentality. And it may work well for your company.

Or it may not.

Anyone who delivers a service is tempted to think "more is better" in almost every circumstance. But there is something to be said for concentrating more resources on the right people, not the most people.

Let me draw an analogy from another activity, marketing. I interact with a lot of training consultants, some of whom run "e-zines" or regular newsletters. Now, if you start looking into e-mail lists and newsletters on some of the marketing guru sites, you'll be overwhelmed by the numbers of readers these gurus claim for their own materials. Their mailing lists can number in the thousands, easily, implying that building up those kinds of numbers is the key to success.

But getting the full attention of the right people, if there is a key subset out there, will produce better results. If a consultant, say, makes a good living from presenting at the annual state conventions of a particular industry, then doing a really good job of building a relationship with just 50 people -- the people who run programs for the 50 state trade associations in that industry -- can produce fantastic success.

The "burgers served" approach makes it easy to overlook situations where training a few key personnel could have a huge payoff. In fact, it leads to a "number enrolled" criterion, as in, "We won't hold that seminar because we only have three people signed up." That makes sense for some topics, but there may be situations where the right training for the right three people could make a significant contribution to your organization's success.

What if you put less of your budget into delivering training and diverted some of it into better qualifying participants? What if more of your training occurred in smaller events, or with smaller on-line enrollments, but it reached people in pivotal roles in a process or function? What if you tweaked your training so that a smaller group of participants was prepared to do a better job of guiding their colleagues and subordinates, based on what they learned, a kind of train-the-trainer approach?

With some creativity, you can change the way you do business for your internal clients. Change is not easy, of course, and you can expect some argument the first time you suggest training fewer people, the first time you turn down someone's request to enroll in a particular activity.

That's where courage and your commitment to helping your company succeed have to kick in!

© 2013 Best Training Practices -- Will Kenny

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