Here’s a question every organization can ask:
What problem do we have that would be solved by a positive change in our people’s thinking, emotions, and behaviors?
This email came from a prospective QBQ! client:
“We are a large manufacturer of industrial products and we ship to customers all around the world. Our plant is operating six to seven days a week with very little down time, causing fatigue and tension between our teams. We hear a lot of ‘It’s not my fault’ and ‘I am a victim’ stuff, along with the ever popular blame game.”
Now that’s real stuff.
We delivered QBQ! training at a well-known, foreign-owned technology firm. They told us this:
“We’ve not given out any pay increases since 2008. People are angry at the company and morale is in the tank.”
And, Kristin and I did a joint session for a state corrections division, hired by the Secretary of Corrections himself. Their story was, as they say, “same song, second verse” as the tech group mentioned above.
I share these client comments with you because they are representative of organizations that train for the right reason.
Let me be clear. I’ve been in the “organizational development” (OD) industry since 1986, and here’s what I know:
Outstanding organizations don’t train because they “should” train. Nor do they train so management can check off another “to do.” They don’t train to keep their OD departments busy or to “create happiness” in the people. They also don’t train because an outside consultant tells them to. And they never train just to embrace the latest fad and hot book, or to meet a celebrity author, speaker, or ex pro ball player!
Here is the #1 reason why outstanding organizations train:
Low productivity, lack of collaboration between departments and within teams, “in the toilet” attitudes, confusion and fear resulting from change, lack of knowledge and skill required to perform tasks, and above normal turnover are all examples of serious problems.
And we train to solve them.
Even training a group or team that is currently excelling is worthwhile, as it prevents problems such as complacency from setting in.
The problem is, so many organizations have trained for the wrong reasons for so long that executives who were once middle managers, supervisors, and front-line folks and currently control the purse strings, have seen resources wasted on either lousy training or good training implemented for the wrong reasons. So now they are cynical toward all training.
It’s no wonder training budgets are the last ones funded and the first ones cut.
But, if your organization is willing to ask and answer the question posed at the top of this post, you’ll discover the reason to invest in training. But if you can’t answer that question, here’s my recommendation:
Do. Not. Train.
That’s right. You heard it from a guy who’s made a living selling training for almost three decades. Please, do not train—unless you train for the right reason:
To solve problems.
What problem is your organization experiencing that needs to be solved?
How would a change in people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors help solve that problem?
And just for a good chuckle, feel free to describe the worst training you have ever experienced!
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