For one local company, the sad reality is that their training function is not supporting the goals of the company, but are so dysfunctional that they are preventing organizational successes on a daily basis. Their training manager is so incompetent that everything he builds breaks.
Why have I decided to take such a tough stance today? Why not soft pedal around the issue of incompetence and frame it as something that the company can life with? If you had an operable cancerous tumor, would you want your doctor to frame the news as something you can live with, or something he can remove?
Now while every company that has a weak training function needs to be evaluated individually, I would suggest that when things get as bad as they are for this particular company that chances are the challenges are similar. So what I want to do is lay out the issues this company has, and ask you to evaluate whether your company is similarly challenged.
First off the training manager lacks the skills to lead a training function. He has a background as a facilitator and a self-taught instructional designer. Competencies to lead training can be taught and they can be learned, but we all know that this requires the learner to be open to needing development. This training manager is under the impression that they have already reached the gold ring, and nothing else is needed. Getting a title doesn’t make the competencies appear!
I once had a training manager that saw the training role as similar to acting. That actors and actresses never see themselves as completed. They are always striving to be more than they are today and stretch continually. Training personnel need to see their careers the same, or they need to get out of the business.
The second challenge that this company has is on the leadership end. The CEO, HR and the senior line managers are unaware of what training should be doing. So when training does anything they assume it is doing its job. Since they fail to understand whether training is performing well, they also miss the events that are actually derailing their own business objectives. Unprepared employees cannot deliver on business expectations. Poorly trained employees are unprepared.
In 90% of the cases that I diagnose, training can be cured. In this case I would regretfully have to recommend radical surgery to remove the training manager and replace him with a competent employee. Otherwise the patient, the company, will not last much longer. It is also important to begin educating senior management in the purpose of training and to set better expectations.
If you are interested in learning the condition of your training function, and whether they are helping or hurting your business, contact me at Jim@JKHopkinsconsulting.com or read a copy of The Training Physical and evaluate yourself.