Employee development and training classes are notoriously boring, ineffective time-sucks. I’m tired of boring training classes that cost the company money, bore people to tears, and don’t change behavior. I’m tired of seeing employees lectured by disconnected instructors who don’t relate to the participants. I’m also really tired of lame Powerpoints.
I think there are 3 areas most training and development classes miss:
1. LITTLE OR NO FOCUS ON ACTION. Don’t talk at me for 4 hours about your thoughts, your feelings, and your experiences. Don’t tell me that some problem exists and then leave the problem solving to me. Especially don’t give me a solution that’s not feasible or entirely impractical. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
TELL ME SOMETHING GOOD: Call me old-fashioned, but if I’m going to spend time in a training class, I want to walk away with new skills. I want to walk away with clear recommendations, actionable tips, and concrete ways to handle situations I’m actually confronted with on a regular basis. Give me something real and actionable that I can do.
2. BORING AS HELL. As someone who writes content and facilitates leadership training, I hope that you want to be in the training room, but I plan and expect that this isn’t the first place you want or need to be that day. Especially when training lasts for 4+ hours.
BE BETTER THAN BORING: If I really want you to connect with and get engaged in the content, I need to be building content that keeps you energized, connects to you based on your work experiences, and is sensitive to your needs and abilities. I don’t care who you are—if you’re in training all day, you’re petering out by 2:30pm. It’s my job as a content creator and as a facilitator to manage that.
3. NO SKILL PRACTICE. Topping my list of reasons why we rarely see behavior change from training classes is that participants are rarely required to practice the skills they’re supposed to be developing and therefore never receive any real feedback on their ability to execute those skills. What happens after training is over? Either they never use that skill or tool they talked about that one time in that one boring training class or when they do go to use it for the first time, it doesn’t go exactly to plan and they make a public fumble. Which means they won’t try it again.
MAKE ME PROVE IT: Do people groan about role play and having to demonstrate skills in small groups or in front of the training group? Absolutely—inherent in role play is the chance that you could fail, which requires the willingness to be vulnerable. Can it be a little uncomfortable. Sure. But that’s the only way that you’re going to learn how to really use the new skills, get real feedback to improve my skills, and build confidence around those newly developed skills.
If you’ve ever been through training or you’re an HR or Talent Management Pro who facilitates, chances are you’ve been party and/or victim to these three. What else tops your list of reasons most training classes suck?
Chelsea Rowe is the Leadership Development Consultant at Kinetix, where she is charged with creating a disruptive leadership development program that turns heads. She combines the science with practical hard-knocks lessons to turn managers from cat herders to kick-ass people leaders. Connect with her on LinkedIn to start a conversation or check out her blog at www.chelsea-rowe.com.