I’m a fan of universal history so please, give me credit, and for the next 30 seconds picture this image in your mind. It’s the meeting between Christopher Columbus, after discovering the new route to Indies (actually America, but this is another story) and the king of Spain, Ferdinand of Aragon, the one who financed Columbus’ expedition. With great skill, just like a movie director, Columbus introduces one by one all the wonders he brought back from his journey: exotic spices, scented wood, unseen birds with magnificent feathers, gold and slaves… as a measure of a successful investment. Everybody in the royal court is holding their breath astonished by the bravery and success Columbus demonstrated in his journey, wishing they were in his shoes.
We know today that Columbus wasn’t the single navigator who dreamed of exploring new worlds, but he was the only one of his time, brave enough, to embark in such a journey and face the countless dangers. If the goal was clear – expanding Spain’s empire and growing king’s profit, what were the dangers of such expedition in 1492? The first one: the unknown. The scholars of that period would paint sea monsters on the uncharted maps of the world, as a warning for the sailors. The second danger: the lack of resources. A voyage longer than initially expected would lead to scarcity in resources. For the crew this means stepping out of the comfort zone, creating new habits and facing a continuous stressing situation. The third danger: people’s demotivation. Stressed, demotivated people often chose one of these options: to quit the team and resign, or to quit the goal and to sail back to more hospitable waters, even to the safety of a harbour, leaving for others the chance to explore new worlds.
So, you would wonder what is the connection between Columbus’s discovery and training? Training effectiveness is more about the learning journey than the goal. In the previous article, I pointed out that training and people development have a very specific goal: improving employee’s performance in order to get a higher profit or market share. And while the goal is very clear, the path from the current situation to achieving that goal has a lot of deep, dangerous waters, as Columbus would say. In the journey of developing people, we have to overcome exactly the same difficulties, but today we name them differently: participant’s motivation, time and place of learning, methodology, technological barriers, support from trainers, peers and managers, information relevance and applicability. And above all, training has to be cost-effective.
So, just like a modern-day Columbus, would you like to know what is the solution of developing people in an effective way, that takes them beyond an ocean of uncertainty and fulfil objectives? We call this magical solution High Performance Learning Journey, HPLJ for short, and it has the power to transform people who get aboard. Why? The answer is embedded in how you build such a specific learning journey, based on key insights about training, developed in more than 40 years of research:
- Training produces predictable results. When enrolled in a training program some people change. Most of them try but give up. Some people won’t even try.
- There has to be a deep business linkage with training so people can improve their performance
- What happens before and after training is more important than the one day of interaction with the trainer.
- Transfer of training knowledge happens when there is a sense of accountability and expectations
- The sense of accountability increases when manager’s engagement is high
Any HPLJ starts with designing a personal performance path. It’s the classical question “what’s the objective?” and the answer provides you 4 different perspectives, connected to each other. The first perspective is about “what exactly are you going to learn”? Knowledge, skill etc. For example: in this training you’ll learn the principles of prioritizing. Or how to give feedback.
The second perspective considers “the moments that matter” in applying that knowledge.Continuing with our example we want to identify the moments when is critical in your job to prioritize. Or when do you have the greatest impact in providing feedback to your team.
Once we did that, then we look for performance outcome (third perspective) and we ask: if a manager has an improved ability in making decisions / providing feedback, what is the impact in his performance? What are the KPI’s for that job, that measure this progress?
At this point it’s somehow easier to make the final connection with the last perspective: what is the business outcome. Isn’t it beautiful to see how HPLJ connects the idea of learning a skill with improved market share for your company?
HPLJ has also a specific and effective approach of the learning process. Remember that people often quit not being motivated enough, information’s lack of relevance or feeling overwhelmed. So every learning journey has four stages and that’s why the first one is commit to the journey. With management involvement and creating a picture of personal success, at the very beginning of the program, people will be and remain motivated.
The second stage of the learning journey is building knowledge foundation. What is the minimum amount of information that a person needs to increase his performance? This is exactly what he will receive, no more than that. How will we do that? Using individual study and e-learning because of the flexibility provided by this method.
Third stage is to develop & practice skills. A live webinar it’s the ideal environment for testing new acquired abilities and provide feedback in real time.
Last stage: strengthen results. It is the final step, where abilities are transferred and tested in the working environment and continuously developed through various methods.
Thus far, we’ve overcome motivation issues, business relevance and cost effectiveness but an HPLJ approach is going even further in the field of effectiveness. Such a program will consider and adjust 5 different factors like time, environment, people involved, business linkage and the tools used in the program, to have a better match with participant’s favorite learning style.
In a nutshell, this is HPLJ. This is the approach of a development process that gets all the advantages of blended learning and produces an average of 60% of improved abilities for the enrolled participants.
So, one more time, picture yourself as a Columbus of our modern days. With this new knowledge about HPLJ are you ready to step abord and sail to a greater performance? If you’re still thinking, don’t worry, it’s ok: we build trust and performance step by step. That’s why in the next episode we’ll show you a real example of how an HPLJ worked for one customer.
Fair wind and calm seas!
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