What activities are a high priority in your organization?

Over the past few years, a common theme seems to be management development.

That’s great. The sad part is when you dig further into the reasons companies say management development is a priority, because about 14% of managers have never participated in any type of program.

And of those that have participated?

Studies have shown that only about half of managers consider their program successful.

These dismal numbers are a direct result of us assuming that training sessions in and of themselves are development. We know the statistics tell us that if all we do is train people, after 2 weeks they only retain about 2% of the information.

So, when folks call me and ask me to conduct training, my first questions are: what are you hoping to change through this training? And why do you think 2 hours in a classroom will change it?

If we want to be successful, we have to build in the development piece. If we can do that, studies show that knowledge retention goes from 2% to 62%.

Putting a development session together isn’t hard work, and it’s clearly the smart thing to do.

The question we must ask after the classroom learning part of training is complete is this: how are we going to continue to work with these folks?

The key with the development piece is building in accountabilities immediately following the training program. When I think about accountabilities, I think about what ongoing mentoring is being provided to the folks in the training session; what accountabilities are being put in place to ensure they’re exhibiting and working on the behaviors from the session; and what follow-up is planned.

That’s when we start to see development happen.

I always say that training doesn’t develop anyone, it just lays the foundation. Training is like pouring a concrete slab and saying, “there’s your house.”

The concrete slab is important, of course. It holds the whole house up. But unless we build everything around it, it’s just a slab.

Training is the same.

Going back to the questions I ask organizations, I don’t just ask what’s broken that they believe training will fix. I also ask: what’s that costing you?

Because there has to be a business case for conducting the training program. If training is done just to check off a box and say, “we did it,” it’s a waste of everyone’s time.

The last question I ask organizations is: if you don’t fix this problem, what are the consequences?

I really want folks to understand that training is more than just a 2-hour session where everyone comes together to hear someone speak to them. When we start to think about training in terms of development, now we start to say, “It’s not just about the time we’ve put into training, it’s about the thought process around the whole program.

If we think about those questions, some answers I want to guide my clients to are:

If I develop my managers, they’re going to drive productivity and profitability.

We’ll be able to better meet our crucial business objective.

We’re going to reduce turnover with a more engaged workforce.

We’re going to be able to better develop our staff.

There are many other reasons to do management development, but those are the 4 big things that a good management development program can do for you.

Certainly, we can get into compliance and many other benefits. But generally, when I think about management development, I think about taking a manager who isn’t confident, who might become easily overwhelmed, who may not be as productive as they could be and may not even be engaged— and turning them into someone who is productive, engaged, confident, and a role model for employees.

A few other studies have been conducted that indicate about $1,100 per year per employee is being spent on ineffective employee development programs. That’s a sad waste of money in my book. If you’re going to spend that kind of money per employee, you also need to invest the time in the back end with mentoring, accountability, and coaching.

Development looks at multi-dimensional learning. It’s not a one-time event that hits one task or one skillset. It incorporates on-the-job learning – support through mentorship – and it’s reinforced over time.

Ultimately, it’s what happens after the class that causes the real development to occur.

If you’ve spent too much time on ineffective training sessions and you’re not getting the ROI for training and development dollars, give me a call at 717-314-3680 to develop a program that will accelerate your results.