“Negotiations in hostage situations, negotiations between multibillion dollar companies or negotiating the Brexit… I’m sorry to say, but we don’t have such expertise. What we do know is how to improve people’s professional performance by making training effective. What we do know is how to create an environment that will allow you to identify your current level of abilities, test them and then improve them. The main goal of this program is for you to become a better negotiator, when these abilities really matter: securing more deals with your customers, with a better margin. The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in battle> is the Navy SEAL’s principle of training and we will apply it in our program. For the next 6 weeks we will negotiate using case studies, then we’ll debrief, learning how to do better in the next negotiation situation. There will be no theory during the workshops, only practice. And while in the beginning we will provide the case studies, in the end YOU will be the ones developing these case studies, with the most relevant customers and situations.”
This is word by word, part of the opening of our last negotiation program and we tried to be as open and honest as possible. While its purpose is to motivate people and to frame the program from the very beginning, do you notice any other differences? We created a 6 weeks long program, with 6 x 2 hours workshops, 3 different industries case studies and 12 microlearning missions, requiring around 4-6 hours of individual learning and study. Adding the hours, you’ll get pretty much the same amount of time as in a classical two days training session. So, what is the difference using this structure? It’s part of the HPLJ approach and it is meant to overcome some of the biggest problems in training or roots of ineffectiveness: the barriers in training and development.
According to Brinkerhoff Evaluation Institute, after participating in a training, only 20% of participants improve their level of targeted skills. That means that for every dollar invested in training, there is a 0.2 return on investment. When using the most effective methods of training, the best outcome in skills development is 60%. It still means that only 6 people out of 10 are improving their skills and consequently their performance, so this is bringing two questions into our minds: what are these barriers and what are the solutions?
Which are the most common barriers in training & development?
During our training programs, we always give participants a questionnaire to fill in, to identify what are the most common barriers they are facing – so this is the source of our list of barriers. The second column, “the root cause”, represents our perspective – but the most interesting information should be the one in the third column – the solution. Why is it empty?
It’s easier to prevent than to fix a problem, right? So in the beginning of our training we ask participants not only to identify problems, but also to find by themselves solutions to these barriers. As a result – the barriers of relevancy or motivation generally are overcome. Sometimes this approach is a solution in finding time to learn, but the beautiful thing is that after this exercise, there are just few root causes left – and they become obvious: the manager’s role and company’s culture. (please forgive me for not talking about poor administration issues – I will get back to that in a future article).
It’s common sense that the more the manager is involved, the more effective the program is. Think about a training program, where your manager does these actions from the very beginning:
- He works with you from the start – talking with you about your current objectives and your career development. This talk provides perspective and motivation.
- The second step: self-assess your current level of skills and then talk about this evaluation with your manager. As a result, you will have clarity of what you need to improve.
- Third step: enroll in a training program and having not just the trainer providing feedback, but your manager too.
After accomplishing these three steps, what barriers do you think will simply vanish from the list as a result of manager’s involvement?
You know, I have superpowers: I can hear your thoughts: “show me a single company where a manager can do that, because in this case, the manager has nothing else to do other than being there as a support for his team, evaluating them, providing feedback, motivating them… this manager is there full time, just for his people. Indeed, we’ve identified an even deeper source of the problem – the manager’s role in the company. What are his top priorities? What percentage of his time is dedicated to his team development? And finally, what is the difference between a manager and a leader?
Please take time to ask yourself these questions.
Let’s be honest: so far, we’ve spoken only about the role of the manager and there are other barriers to talk about, not to mention the most important one – lack of time. What about them? These barriers are frequent and very important too – and many of them share again a common root of the problem: company’s culture about learning and development.
I invite you to read the next article because it makes a huge difference. It will not be about how to remove barriers in training but how to enable and accelerate the process of learning and development.
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