• Sam Decker

Critical Training

Today I heard someone say ‘critical training’ was required for our managers to do something the right way.

I totally agree training can improve people – although I believe in experiential learning more. Habits change by changing habits (is that profound? If not, I read it somewhere).

My father trained executives how to be better communicators. He revolutionized training in 1980 by giving executives 7-14 rounds of video feedback. What a difference it made…provides shock value of how others see you! I went through it twice…partly because it was free :-). But most importantly, my leaps forward in speaking came when I did it every week at Dell. And I chose one habit to change each time I spoke.

If the training is ‘critical’ to sustain a policy, procedure, or practice, then I’m curious. If someone forgets the training or veers away, does that person fail? Hope not. People only remember 10% of what is presented to them. A one time training doesn’t necessarily ‘stick’. I usually only get one or two main ideas out of a training.

McDonald’s training works because after training employees repeat the same then task over and over. It becomes muscle memory.

Not so with information workers and managers. We’re trained once, but the improved actions aren’t repeated frequently. There’s no sustainment. You’ve got to make some conscious, visceral changes and controls in the way people do things. It’s like Six Sigma “Improve” and “Control” for people! Control examples: real-time feedback, mentors, forms, audits, etc.

This is not to suggest we do away with training…but rather utilize techniques to sustain that what is taught is experienced…repeatedly. Repeatedly. Did I say that already?