There seems to be a lot of hype these days about being a “learning organization.” Millions and millions of dollars are spent in pursuit of the magic potion that will transform a company from a frog into a prince. And yet, how many of the programs really work and do what they promise to do? The sad truth is that most can’t deliver on the promises of transformation.
Where is the disconnect? Is it a problem with the content, the trainer, the coach, or the client? The simple answer is yes. It is a problem all around. Here are just a few of the problems I have observed in a company functioning as a learning organization:
- If content has not been updated in the past twelve months, it is very likely missing the opportunity to hit the target. The target is always moving and the content has to reflect the current needs of the client.
- If the trainer is trying to be a jack of all trades and deliver everything that the customer needs, it is likely that he will misfire at some point in trying to deliver something that he is not fully versed in. In my opinion, it is better to be a specialist vs a generalist when training. Obviously some topics can be taught by anyone, but wouldn’t you rather be taught by an expert in the subject if possible? Of course you would.
- If the coach has extended himself or herself to too many clients, he may find himself in a situation where he is not delivering quality time.
- If the customer has unrealistic expectations of what the outcomes will be, or if the customer is unwilling to fully support the training program, it is ultimately doomed to failure. Lip service does no good if there is no follow-through and accountability. May great programs have folded because there was not buy-in throughout the organization.
Getting on track is not impossible; it just takes a collaborative effort where all the players are in the game. You can’t have someone sitting on the sidelines or disengaged totally and expect to have positive results. There is an old saying worth remembering: If it is worth doing, it is worth doing well.
If a company is going to invest the time and energy and resources to train the company staff, make sure the curriculum is relevant to you. Make sure the trainers you have are capable. Make sure the coaches are not spread too thin. And last but not least…make sure you and your company are fully engaged in the process. If any of these factors don’t hold up under inspection, do everyone a favor and keep looking. Taking on a training project is critical to growth, but it only makes sense if the pieces of the puzzle fit together to make a clear picture of desired outcomes.
No single training program is a cure-all, and yet the right program can help point your organization in a positive direction. Think long term in regards to training. Think lifetime. If you are not learning, you are not growing.