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08 2011

Can Trainers Guarantee Results?

Syndicated from: Fulcrum Associates | Leadership Development and Teambuilding

This has been a hotly debated issue among those of us who work in the so-called “soft skills” area. Our clients, understandably so, want a high degree of certainty that their investment in training will generate certain outcomes. In particular, that their trainees will learn and successfully apply the skills taught. And they would prefer the results be promised in the form of solid metrics. And so would I…if t’were possible to guarantee. The fact is that management development is fuzzy because managers, being human, are complex and, yes, fuzzy creatures. At Fulcrum Associates we deal with enhancing leadership and interpersonal behaviors. There are a ton of forces influencing whether the new behaviors will be absorbed and applied in the workplace. Of course, we must put the quality of our content, the design of our process, and the effectiveness of our delivery at the top of the list. But here are some other factors that can make or break whether training “takes” in your organization: readiness (i.e. willingness) of the learner support and involvement of his/her manager some post-training mechanism or process within the organization to coach, support, and sustain the trainee’s development how good a role model (of the skills) the higher level managers are degree of support from senior management for management development how well skill building is integrated into the performance management process and overall talent development strategy the organizational culture itself (is it open, trusting, positive, collaborative OR secretive, blaming-fixing and internally competitive?) Our associate, Brian Hayman, in a recent blog post distinguishes between outputs and outcomes. We can guarantee our clients a certain level of professional outputs (i.e. content, process, delivery) but we are unable bring metric accuracy to the eventual outcomes of our programs. I know that most of their people who go through our sessions will be better in applying certain skills. I just can’t tell you who and by how much. Again, I wish t’were possible. © 2011, Ian Cook. All rights reserved.

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