Thoughts on Training

In his comments on the second edition of User Adoption Strategies, my editor commented on the low level of effectiveness attributed by survey respondents to the three “training” strategies – classroom, web-based, and pages on the Intranet. He suggested I should examine why that’s the case.

In that light, I was interested to find Mike’s article from September 2011 entitled Training Isn’t Dead—But It Should Be:

My problem with training is it presumes the need for indoctrination on systems, processes and techniques. Moreover, training assumes that said systems, processes and techniques are the right way to do things. When a trainer refers to something as “best practices” you can with great certitude rest assured that’s not the case. Training focuses on best practices, while development focuses on next practices. Training is often a rote, one directional, one dimensional, one size fits all, authoritarian process that imposes static, outdated information on people. The majority of training takes place within a monologue (lecture/presentation) rather than a dialog. Perhaps worst of all, training usually occurs within a vacuum driven by past experience, not by future needs.

Mike proposes a new mindset of “development,” and a greater role for coaching and mentoring, among other strategies, within his focus of leadership development. Interestingly (but not surprisingly), that same theme comes out in my user adoption research.

Mike says there are 15 differences between training and development:

Training focuses on the present – Development focuses on the future.
Training focuses on technique – Development focuses on talent.
Training adheres to standards – Development focuses on maximizing potential.
Training focuses on maintenance – Development focuses on growth.
Training focuses on the role – Development focuses on the person.
Training indoctrinates – Development educates.
Training maintains status quo – Development catalyzes innovation.
Training stifles culture – Development enriches culture.
Training encourages compliance – Development emphasizes performance.
Training focuses on efficiency – Development focuses on effectiveness.
Training focuses on problems – Development focuses on solutions.
Training focuses on reporting lines – Development expands influence.
Training is mechanical – Development is intellectual.
Training focuses on the knowns – Development explores the unknowns.
Training is finite – Development is infinite.

Thanks Mike – great work.

Read more: Training Isn’t Dead—But It Should Be

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