Maximize Training Impact with These Five Ideas

Maximize training impactA couple of weeks ago I was in Dallas, working for a very cool client, Ad Giants, which enables small businesses to market themselves like big businesses. We put together a pilot training program for their new consultants. Here are a few insights and reminders I had in the course of developing and delivering the training:

It’s all about behavior

Any time I get involved in a training project, one of my first questions is invariably something along the lines of, “What do you want participants to be able to DO as a result of the training?” This is an important question, but equally important is what you do about the answer. There’s a place in the process for telling and showing the desired behavior, but where the rubber hits the road is when you get them to practice. As much as I dislike doing role plays as a participant, the fact of the matter is they are an excellent way to prepare for applying soft skills on the job.

Concepts are important too

As much as I emphasize behavior in my design and delivery, there are at least three factors worth considering:

  • Learning styles – People have preferences and strengths, and as valuable as role playing and practice can be, some folks really get a whole lot from ideas and concepts. You want to engage your learners to the best of your ability.
  • Buy in – While it’s great to make sure people can perform, andragogy teaches us that adult learners need a reason to learn. And on that note, Keller’s ARCS model (see my past blog) teaches us that training should be relevant in order to motivate participants to learn.
  • Behavioral complexity – One of my all-time favorite quotes, from Ralph Waldo Emerson, sums it up nicely:

“As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few.
The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods.
The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.”

Stakeholder involvement really helps

I had the good fortune of having the President of the company as my primary stakeholder. What was even better was how invested he was in the outcome and how much he values training. I have not been as fortunate in other projects, and I can tell you that you work a whole lot harder for lower quality when the people that need to be engaged, are not.

There’s no resource like THE source

A big part of our strategy was built upon the CEO sharing his expertise and modeling the behaviors that participants would then role play. I was fortunate to have someone who is just that great at what he does, and also does an excellent job of communicating it. The participants ate it up – they learned a lot and it also helped them bond with their new company.

There’s no world like the REAL world

One thing that really enhanced the quality of the training was the use of client case studies. Ad Giants has a YouTube channel that includes video testimonials from clients. What a treasure trove — to have all this great content ready to be leveraged for training purposes. We took one of the videos, and used it as a case throughout the first hour of the class, helping participants apply concepts to an actual client. The video added instructional variety, and the case provided a dose of reality.

So there you have it, a few insights from a great project. Hopefully they’ve given you some food for thought for maximizing the impact of your own training projects.

What do you think?