Successful & Sustainable Training

How successful are your current training programs?  To find out why many training programs don’t deliver the intended results it is best to define what success looks like.   Successful and sustainable training must result in the participant’s ability to comprehend and apply the content.

There are two integral parts to any training program; content and process.  Most programs place the emphasis only on content.   If content were the most important element then we would all just read a book or PowerPoint presentation and call it a day.  However, success – the “hoped-for result” – is a product of the training process – the process whereby knowledge is transferred.

So, how do we transfer knowledge?  Most training programs rely on a person with knowledge of the content or subject matter to present the information in a lecture or classroom demonstration.  While somewhat successful, the result is usually less than a “hoped-for” outcome.  Consider the number of people within your organization that can quote by memory the company value statement or even recite the project management process yet cannot recognize or replicate them in the workplace.

The key to successful training lies in the teaching/training process.  Teaching or training is a true art form that, today, few possess. The definition of teach or train actually means to cause another to know or to transfer knowledge.  If the student doesn’t know (to have direct cognition of) then teaching or training did not happen.  And until knowledge can be applied and evaluated it does not exist.  According to the dictionary the word knowledge means familiarity with something and a skill acquired through experience.  We most often focus only on the first part of the definition – familiarity.

A skilled trainer must first possess skills other than just an understanding of the content.  To transfer knowledge there must be a thorough understanding of the person to whom the knowledge is transferred.  Every employee is different and there is no cookie-cutter approach that will work for all.

Secondly, most training focuses on the IQ part of training.  The IQ is simply the receptor of knowledge.  Think of it as the ability to memorize.  The information is there but the knowledge to apply isn’t.  In his best-selling 1995 book, Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman reported that research shows that conventional measures of intelligence — IQ — only account for 20% of a person’s success in life.  To be successful and sustainable, training should also influence the EQ – Emotional Quotient.  Our EQ is the application side of learning and is only triggered through experiential learning.  We learn (knowledge + application) through experience.

When a trainer can provide a program that combines IQ with EQ is when the training program will produce the “hoped-for” result.  And, when you combine experience with emotion there is no better training.