David Ogilve, the advertising guru, once noted that half the money spent on advertising is wasted; the problem being that no one knows which half. The same could be said of training, although I suspect that perhaps as much as 90% of training is wasted. And unlike advertising, we can know what training is wasted — it’s the training that doesn’t transfer to the workplace.
Management training in particular is fraught with this anomaly. Time and again I’ve seen companies spend a lot of money on supervisor training with little to show for it. Even though all the participants are grateful for the opportunity to attend the training, and they come back with glowing reviews of the instructor and the course, very few of what is taught results in improved performance.
Some years ago a study compared the various ways of developing executives and managers and looked at the resulting improvements in performance. What they concluded was that the very best development experiences happened when participants worked on real business problems in their own companies. Not only did they solve real problems, but they also learned a lot, all of which they could use on the job.
The bottom line is that putting people to work on real problems, with the time to do it and some good guidance, will give you a far better return on investment than sending everyone off to the next public seminar. Think about it.
© Copyright 2016 Bob Legge
Bob Legge provides organizations with the ability to exceed their most ambitious goals. I work with leaders of Fortune 500 companies, small and mid-size companies, nonprofits, education, and government. Together, we drive strategy, lead successful change, develop high performance cultures, improve individual and organizational performance, and produce faster, sustainable growth and value. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org