Speaking to another training manager this week that is running around like a chicken with her head cut off, we laughed at how often training is seen as the magical solution to performance issues. Now while everyone in the training function should know in their heart that training cannot fix every performance problem, it doesn’t stop many training managers from trying.
I’ve spoken of it many times in this blog, and in my book The Training Physical, about the gaudy looking pink plastic wand I used to have sitting on my desk at work. It was a subtle reminder to me and often used as a visual for others that training skills and improving performance is not something we can accomplish by waiving a magic wand.
Yet once again I am listening to another training manager that is frantic about solving another problem for a senior manager in the next 45 minutes. I asked her how long ago she had been notified of the issue, she checked the email and said, 12 minutes ago!
In the scope of things that go on in this type of organization, what she was being asked to solve was no where on the high important, and high urgency list. However, by not setting expectations with the senior manager, the assumption is that this training manager will drop everything and everybody else’s project and work on this issue first.
In fairness to the senior manager, if you can get everyone to jump the minute you ask, and meet your every need, why should you care how it cascades across the organization? Or should you care?
In trying to help, I suggested that the training manager needs to incorporate new projects into her annual training plan and negotiate priority each and every time a new project comes along. Training Plan? Oops, there I go again assuming that there was such an illusive document. No wonder she is losing her mind trying to track all her projects. Even the one we had planned to discuss today, I had to recap the project to jog her memory. I felt so sorry for her, and yet she is creating this havoc in the workplace herself.
I’d love to help this organization, and especially this training manager because she has the right heart for the learning function. What we need to shore up is her spine and her ability to put the training wand back in the drawer.