Most Training FAILS. Here's Why.

Episode 11 - 11 Nov 2015

When we provide or receive training, we expect performance to improve. But is that a reasonable expectation?

No, it isn't.

Unless the training is trivial, performance is guaranteed to go down in the short term.

Have you ever had golf lessons? Or tennis lessons?

If so, I have a question for you: Did your performance improve? Or did it get worse?

Hi this is Gary, welcome to Development that Pays.

Years ago, I read something about TRAINING, the truth of which hit me like a thunderbolt.

I haven’t been able to find the original reference, but the gist of it was this:

“Most training fails because… we expect an improvement in performance."

Let me adjust this slightly:

“Most training fails because… we expect an IMMEDIATE improvement in performance."

Do you know this fellow?

I know nothing about sport, but I understand this guy is handy with a stick.

What if you met him in a bar and he told you - in strictest confidence -

that he was unhappy with his performance…

and was going to be working with someone ”re-invent" his swing.

Would you bet on him to win his next tournament?

I certainly wouldn’t.

Rory’s swing is engrained. It’s a habit. It’s deep in his muscle memory.

Shifting that habit to “install” a new swing is going to be hard work.

It's not going to happen overnight.

The thing is, Rory knows this. His manager knows this. His trainer knows this.

They all know the swing is going to get worse before it gets better.

So much for the world of sport. What about the world of work?

Dean is out of the office for two days on a course of some kind.

Dean’s boss - let’s call him Mr Manager - is looking forward to Dean getting back.

Wouldn’t you know it, it’s been a busy couple of days while he’s been away.

Dean is back in on the Wednesday.

Mr Manager is expecting great things from Dean

Dean may also be expecting great things from himself.

But things are about to unravel.

Here’s a graph of Dean’s performance over time. The level of performance is more or less flat

… up until the training course.

His performance then DROPS as he attempts to break one habit and starts to install another.

What we hope for for Dean is that he sticks with it long enough for his performance to “break through” his previous performance level.

But it might be days or even weeks before he reaches this breakthrough point.

Right now - at 11:30 on his first morning back:

His expected performance is here His actual performance is way down here.

He’s struggling under the weight of a huge a backlog of work.

It’s not hard to predict what’s going to happen.

The fastest way for Dean to close this gap is to go back to the way he did things before.

The moment he decides to revert to the old way of doing things, that’s the moment when the training failed.

Two things I think we can take from this:

Number one: when you’re learning something new, be patient with yourself.

Realise that your performance will get worse before it gets better.

And number two: when you send someone else "to be trained”,

realise that the you might be the one that makes the difference

between training that succeeds and training that fails.

As a minimum, give the person TIME to complete this journey.

Ideally, provide support - dare I say it, COACHING - throughout the “danger zone”.

Talk to you next time.

Watch "Most Training FAILS. Here's Why." on YouTube.