3 Things I Learnt This Summer

If people are coming to the training because their calendar is saying so, we have already failed to reach our goal.

We’ve all been there. You’ve arranged a training program for your organization or team – maybe to change a certain behavior in your team or to be better in leading people  – but it’s good for nothing. People come there because they are supposed to, treating the training as a mundane chore. Then a week goes by and the training has gone to waste.  There isn’t any change in the daily work.

What a disappointment. For everyone.

This summer I learnt a few truths about how to make change stick.

Truth 1: If nobody cares, nothing will change

I took part in several train-the-trainer learning session during the summer months. The biggest eye-opener was during my trip to Stockholm, where I listened to Professor Robert Brinkerhoff talk about the problems in training.

The question he raised was this: what is happening before the training session? Too often we are fixated on the results of the training, like business benefits and new skillset building. While they are undeniably important, revolving around them can distract our energy from a very crucial part of training: planning.

We need to ask important questions on the planning phase. Are the people who are invited to a learning event motivated? Do they feel that they are accountable to make the change happen?  Have we engaged them early enough to understand why we are doing this?

If people are coming to the training only because their calendar is saying so, we have already failed to reach our goals and there is no way to create accountability.

Truth 2: People need to know why something is important

We need to start to inform people well in advance about the relevance of the training program in relation to their own business targets. Let them know why it is useful to them.  Every person should know the bridge between learning new behaviors and their own daily operational tasks.

By doing this we are creating accountability for everybody: I am accountable to take new lessons learned into my daily operational life.

Truth 3: You’re the boss, you have the biggest role in change

This summer has only highlighted the well-known truth that the best facilitators of training and change are the direct superiors of teams and organizations. They know their teams and tasks best; they can give the guidance and feedback needed for a change.

Superiors should recognize this crucial role. With the help of good planning and good training professionals, they can truly make a change – and make it stick.


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