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

Trade Offs

will you give up training activity to gain impact?

(reprinted from The Training Tipsheet)

We can assess the value someone places on something -- including the value your clients, internal or external, place on training -- by what that person is willing to give up to get it. And when it comes to training, money is rarely the only form of "payment" for effective training services.

For your "customers," the managers of the people who actually go through your training, employee time is the essential currency. More than actual expense, the amount of time you can have their employees for, to get them fully trained on whatever the subject may be, is an indication of how important that subject is to them. And it is an indication of how much confidence they have that your training services will benefit their operations, and the company.

For the training department, the currency of training is often other training. Especially in a difficult economy, limited resources mean that you need to apply your training efforts in the areas that produce the biggest return for the company.

That could mean that when you encounter a new need, or see a new opportunity to serve the organization more effectively, you will have to remove some training activity or event from your catalog.

Many training department leaders have a hard time giving up any training. Indeed, a couple of years ago I surveyed a conference of training managers about how they would respond to some economic and demographic trends that would shift the demands on their training services. In other words, after they had identified important changes coming to their fields, they had several choices about how to manage the resources to respond to those changes.

And about half of them said they would simply "get additional resources" to solve the problem!

That's an unrealistic approach in the best of times, and hardly worth considering during a recession. If something is really important to do, you have to be willing to give something up to do it.

In a way, you should always be looking for training activities to throw away, so you can replace them with activities that will make more of a contribution to your company's success. Continuous improvement really relies on culling the least productive activities on a regular basis.

It's a matter of degree. I can certainly believe that that everything you are doing now brings value to your organization. I'm just saying you can't have everything, so it makes sense to ditch the items of least value, even if they are very good, and replace them with things that will have a greater impact.

In short, when you come up with a new need, a new opportunity to help the company through training, you can estimate its value simply by figuring out what you'd be willing to give up to do it. If "get additional resources" is your only solution, it probably isn't that important.

Do you have the courage to make the hard decisions, to set priorities and give something up to deliver something better and more important?

© 2012 Best Training Practices -- Will Kenny

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