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Seb Anthony

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Happy New Year


If you could have three wishes for next year, what would they be? These are mine...

It can’t have escaped your notice that 2011 is very nearly over and 2012 is about to start.  Traditionally this is a time of resolutions, turning over new leaves and discussing hopes for the future so in the hope that a benevolent genie somewhere might be listening, here are my three wishes for training and development in the coming twelve months:

Training is not coffee

Was 2011 difficult? Do you think 2012 will be the same - perhaps even worse?  Doesn’t it strike you as odd that, just when business needs to become even more efficient and effective, when it needs to take big strides in improving itself, training budgets are being slashed?

We have allowed ourselves to become dispensable.  We have allowed ourselves to become the equivalent of free coffee for employees - if the business can afford it, then it’ll be provided but it (both the coffee and the training) are only “nice to haves” and when the budgets get tight, they’ll be the first things cut.  

We’ve allowed this to happen by not insisting on measures for our work; we’ve allowed it to happen by not insisting we are made accountable for results; we’ve allowed it to happen by not insisting that our job does not end when people leave the training room.  So my first wish for 2012 is that training companies and departments stand up for the value they can and do add to business and start demonstrating just how important they are.

Happy talk

I used to joke with friends that you could always spot a trainer out on a date because he’d be the one handing out a feedback form at the end of the evening.  Okay, it’s not a great joke but there are few other jobs I can think of that have such a mania for immediate feedback. 

Of course, if you’re on a training course I’m running, I want you to enjoy it.  I believe that if it’s a good experience, you’re more likely to remember it and act on it.  But there are times when you won’t enjoy it: there will be times when you need to be challenged; there will be times when what you need isn’t what you want.  When that happens, you’re unlikely to give good feedback - which is a problem, if the end-of-workshop “happy sheets” are the only type of feedback being collected.

So following on from my first wish, my second wish is that business and trainers will move away from the immediate feedback and focus more on the Kirkpatrick level 3 and 4 feedback.  It’s vital that we measure what people actually do with what we teach and the difference it makes - it’s the only way we can show that what we do matters to the business.

None of this matters without you

This a simple one, really, but it’s the most important.  This blog is pointless without you, the reader - it’s just some bloke tapping away at a laptop if no one is reading it.  Every week I’m amazed that hundreds of you take the time to check in with the blog: I never take it for granted and I’m always grateful.  So my third wish is that you have a happy, peaceful and prosperous New Year.

Here’s to 2012!


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