Training is so often promoted as the solution to problems being experienced in an organisation – take a look at just about any business plan and training is almost certain to be part of the business growth strategy. Steve Simpson believes that in some instances, training can be a total waste of time. Even worse, training can be counter-productive. Read on…
I have recently returned from beautiful Cairns in tropical Queensland where I spoke at a national conference for a group of terrific people in a real estate company.
I decided to arrive early so I could sit-in on the morning of the conference. I felt I could be more attuned to the issues in the company by doing this.
During one of the planning sessions in the morning, the need for training was raised on a few occasions. That got me thinking about how training is not the answer if the UGRs® (Unwritten Ground Rules) are inappropriate.
A major part of my presentation at the conference involved introducing the concept of UGRs. I then raised the issue of training in the company, and asked the group to consider the UGRs in relation to training in the following scenarios:
- A staff member goes to a one day training session and when they return to work, nothing is said
- The manager never attends a training session
- A person is told ‘You need to go to a training session’
- When a person returns from a full day training programme, people say ‘So where was your jaunt yesterday?’
I think my point was made to this group.
So often, management contend that ‘training’ is the solution to company problems. And done well, training probably will solve a number of important issues.
It must be remembered however, that training will only be effective if the training is high quality and relevant, and if the organisation’s training-related UGRs are appropriate.
If there is a UGR which says ‘Around here, training is a waste of time and the only reason we do it is because it’s company policy’, there is little chance of it having any positive impact.
It’s incumbent on all of us to give serious consideration to the UGRs associated with training. While training UGRs are negative, the investment will be totally wasted.