Strategy

20th August 2015

Training Doesn’t Work

It seems almost blasphemous to write the words “Training doesn’t work”, particularly when I am so deeply involved in the development field, and so often, at the level I work at training can be seen as the universal panacea for all problems, but it is true that training doesn’t work. Well not on its own anyway.
At best training is an input. Usually we are looking for competency or proficiency as an output. Training might address the ‘how’ and the ‘what’ we do but it does little to address the ‘why’ and it often does even less to develop the skills and the habits that will allow us to execute flawlessly.

There seems to be a flaw in the logic somewhere. We seem to have been brainwashed to believe that if we know something about a subject it naturally follows that we are capable of executing at a high level in that subject. So many young people think that because they have a qualification in something they are entitled to a lofty position in that field. They forget the wise words of John Wooden who reminded us that “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts”.

So many of my coaching clients will have MBA’s and other high level qualifications, extensive training and experience but lack the opportunity to observe, reflect, practice and develop the behaviours and habits both physical and mental that will allow them to execute flawlessly more frequently whatever the circumstances.

The white belt and the black belt will use exactly the same moves. The black belt has simply learned to execute at a higher level, more frequently and more consistently. Judo is a good metaphor for business because business is also a dynamic, fast moving place where just one slip can be catastrophic. We don’t learn the nuances of consistent effective behaviour in the whirl of action in a lecture theatre, or any other theoretical environment; we learn it by competing, by deliberately practicing, by reflecting and by learning from our actions.

Knowing what to do is a whole lot different to doing what we know. When we are looking towards Adult Behavioural Change training simply doesn’t work.