How effective is that training?

A friend recently had his staff go through a two-day business leadership workshop. When I asked him how he was going to measure effectiveness, he really couldn’t go beyond saying “I just hope it works.”

We often give a pass for the effectiveness of certain types of business training (particularly “soft skills” like leadership, communication, strategy, sales, etc.) that we wouldn’t accept for any other training in our lives. As an engineer, I learned in class, I applied what I learned in a lab, I was tested for mastery, and then the next courses built on those earlier lessons.

For example, the training I went through to become a nuclear submariner was:
  • 6 months of nuclear power school that ended with a comprehensive exam, then 
  • A 6-month school that was essentially a lab (an operational nuclear power plant) to make sure I could practically apply what I learned before and demonstrate mastery then 
  • A 3-month “everything else about a submarine” school, then 
  • Report to my submarine, where I needed to apply everything I mastered to quickly become a contributing member of the crew.
That example isn’t really unique, right? ANY important skill that we needed to learn in life we learned through a combination of gaining knowledge (classroom, books, observation, etc.), practical application (labs, papers, etc.), and feedback (exam grades, coaching, etc.). So, what’s so magical about “soft skills” that they don’t need that kind of process?

The Growth Coach was started back in the 90s because we recognized business performance improvement ALWAYS starts with the leadership becoming competent at leading and managing. That wasn’t just going to happen in a 2-day class; it was going to happen the same way we learn anything important: education (our material & workshops), practical application (the actual job), and feedback (metrics and ongoing coaching).

Are you considering training for yourself or your team? Understand what your return on investment is. It doesn't need to be awesome, but it shouldn't be hard to understand how ROI will be realized. We give prospective clients an ROI calculator and we help them understand the vector to getting that return (i.e. how that ROI will actually be realized). Ask your training provider what the vector is to ROI, how long it might it take to realize that return, and what the key metrics would be for your business.

Go get 'em!

Ingar Grev