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Management development feature: training and performance


This month sees the first in our monthly series of features on the subject of Management Development. Leading teamwork and management expert and co-founder of the CPD Business School Charles Margerison will be producing a series of these features over the coming months.

Training and Performance

Each week I get more and more leaflets through my door advertising boxes of training tricks and exercises designed to help managers learn. They are however really designed for trainers, not managers. They are a way to fill in training hours, but do they really improve the performance of the managers?

I have used such exercises, and created a few myself. But on reflection, I can now see that I was avoiding the obvious real life situation as the starting point for management development.

To learn you need to know what you are looking for. Winston Churchill said that, ‘Many people stumble over the truth, then pick themselves up and continue as if nothing had happened.’ In short, they learned nothing from their experience.

Successful managers take every day ordinary situations and turn them into golden learning opportunities. They have what the French call, ‘savoir faire’, or ‘savvy’ as we often call it. Such people are often called ‘street smart’. Many of the world’s leading entrepreneurs are street smart. They have not had much formal education. They may not for example have an MBA, but they know how to develop a business, and make money.

They know, often intuitively, what to look for, and what to say. They pick things up quickly, assess the opportunity and then say ‘yes’, or ‘no’. They use their time well. They know how to network. They learn how to negotiate. Why? Because they learn on the job every day.

Active learners quickly learn from experience. They act on the learning, then quickly go into improved action.

More to the point, they apply what they learn. This not to downplay what you can learn from books and courses. However, are those books and courses related to key business issues. In short, is it passive or active learning? The CPD Business School is based exclusively on work based learning assignments via action learning. In short the action comes first and the learning follows.

So, how do you rate the training you do on the ‘passive and active’ scale? Also, how do you rate it on the ‘impact on performance’ scale – low or high. If you are concerned on either count, then talk to your clients about the real issues they want to tackle before designing the next training programme.

More information about the CPD Business School.


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