Business Without Training

If you are looking to save some money next year, you may want to try out some of the expense reducing tips used by many companies this year.  My least favorite, although very popular, has been to conduct business without training.  Some have reduced training to only new hires, or regulatory concerns because they are forced into it, and others have cut out development programs for managers and leaders.  Many have decided that sales skills and customer service should come natural, so why train something we are born with?

While readers may be wondering if I am being sarcastic in my tone for this discussion, I have yet to reveal my entire motive.  You see in addition to saving money, you can also plan to lose money next year by cutting out training.  In fact, if your goal is to go out of business, force a sale of the company, or declare bankruptcy, then a faster strategy is to pull back on providing skills that make employees successful, and thus the company successful either.

Training Leaders like myself harp all year-long on the benefits of training, targeting skill development, and using learning as a competitive edge to win out over the competition.  We are working off the premise that companies want to make money, grow, and return for stockholders.  Yet, we are barking up the wrong tree if the company has goals that are reverse of that thinking.  Assuming a company desires success, is no longer a “no-brainer” and we learning professionals should probably ask the obvious question before we assume differently.

I am taking this approach when I first meet new executives that I think are striving for success.  “Is the company planning to grow this next year?”  “Has your division increased their goals from last year for next year?” I am finding that I get some rather puzzling looks, and even over the phone a definite pause.  Rather than explain my opening questions, I come back to them later when we discover an area that needs attention.  When there is push-back over solving the problem, I ask again if there is something other than success as a business driver.

There is a neighborhood bank that has decided to merge with another bank of equal size without the advantage of any training process.  Their plan is for everyone to learn on the job, and that they will be successful in retaining customers.  I strongly disagree, or rather, I would not take that bet and would have planned differently for success.

What are your thoughts?  Will they succeed without training?


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