This may seem like an obvious question in a training blog, but it is one that must be asked frequently if performance is always the focus of training solutions. It is very easy to become distracted with the latest cool technology, or brand new program offered by a favored vendor and forget what our goal in training is, that being to improve performance.
Too many sales people focus on selling the bells and whistles of the new product, and make it fit into the operation. “We have management training, and you have managers, right?” Just because our courses don’t train the skills that have been identified as critical to your managers being successful shouldn’t stop you from checking us out. (Not in quotes, because they never say this, they only think it.)
I am a big Stephen Covey fan, and often incorporate “Begin with the End in Mind” as the basis for most performance discussions. I want to make sure we are focused on what kind of behaviors and skills are missing that we need to build. Once I am focused on the end results, it makes designing and purchasing training solutions much easier. Either they will work or they will not. Once the list is narrowed down, we look at implementation issues and costs.
The reason I focus on performance and the reason I beat this drum so often with my peer group is because it is easy to get distracted. A senior manager in your organization wants a particular type of training, and wants the training manager to go get it and implement it. Too often the training manager does just that without a single clarifying question or a stitch of analysis. What if this solution won’t get the job done? Who will take the hit if it flops? Need I ask?
Finally I want to remind all of us of another important fact if we are focused on performance and that is by when. What date does this all need to happen? Back up the truck and determine when the flag must come down on this race if you have any hope of winning. If you need 60-days to implement, when do decisions need to be made. If it will take another 30-days after training is over to practice the skills before a product launch, will we be finished with the training in time?
Focus on Performance and you will be rewarded in the end.