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

True Training Creativity

creativity in the classroom is not enough

(reprinted from The Training Tipsheet)

Training professionals certainly like to think of themselves as creative types. We are always looking for better ways to get a message across, to engage participants, to produce results for the company.

When we say, "creativity," in most training departments, we are thinking about what happens in the classroom and in our on-line courses. We are thinking about creativity in teaching and communication.

But there is another side to providing training services for an organization, a side that has to do with practical matters, business relationships, logistics. It is the side that makes it easy for functions within the company to call on us to help them improve their results by enhancing employee performance.

And one rarely hears "creativity" invoked on that side of the operation.

If we were to get candid feedback from the company functions that use your services -- and from the functions that tend to avoid using your training services -- would they say that involving the training department means :

  • giving up control of the content, implementation, or key training roles for department staff?
  • substantial delays before any actual training is delivered, no matter how urgent the need?
  • fitting into "cookie cutter" slots that are already determined, with little say over they how, when, who of delivery?
  • wrestling with procedures and policies that are so mechanical that working with training is more like talking to an algorithm than to a person?
  • few options on costs, locations, and other resources?

It is odd that so many training departments that provide excellent participant experiences deliver such poor internal customer experiences. And it is a high risk situation, especially in tough times when every single function in the company is jealously watching how every other function is funded, and how those other functions use their resources.

Siphon off some of the creativity you pour into the learning experience to develop new and more flexible ways of working with your internal customers. Make sure there are levels of help -- from a little design support to full blown development and delivery -- instead of a 'one size fits all" relationship with those customers. Make it easy for them to explore what you can do for them without committing a lot of time and resources up front. Create a library of useful materials, and planning tools, on your company intranet, so they can take a self-service approach to the initial steps of investigating training solutions for their needs.

The participants in your seminars, workshops, and on-line courses do not fund your training department. Great evaluations from participants will not be enough to counter any frustration other department managers experience when they get the training function involved.

If you cannot be creative in providing great service to your true customers, the ones who really pay your bills, do not expect much sympathy or help from other managers when the competition turns fierce over limited resources.

© 2010 Best Training Practices -- Will Kenny

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