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The Way I See it … Know Your Score


Phil Fitzgerald asks whether you would be willing to undertake the ultimate evaluation.

Take two trainers, a mixed bag of 24 delegates and one fresh course with a technical slant.

Split those 24 into two adjoining rooms, add one trainer into each and close the door. Leave on a steady training heat for five days. Turn once.

For a finale, take out the delegates and grill them evenly to see which is best in a knowledge and skills taste test.

If one set scores better then the other then award a bonus only to the trainer of the best performing group.

Now, tick your immediate reaction -

1- Ridiculous idea, never happen, what about true learning.
2- Not workable, so many reasons why, no allowance for differences.
3- May have merits, ummmm.
4- I’d like to take the taste test and I think I’d do well in my scores.
5- It’s exactly what we should be doing/already do, who would think anything else?

The 1-5 spread above covers the standard set of reactions I’ve received.

Broken down into percentages however, and the curve becomes a rollercoaster of 80% of replies covering options 1 through to 3, with about 15% in 4 and a tiny remainder in zone 5.

So, where did you lie? And more importantly, why?

Revelations : Chapter 1

What I’ve noticed as the primary driver behind the rather more prickly responses is an element of fear.

And not a fear of losing a bonus*, but a fear of measurement.

Of being tested and then compared against others, control groups and after enough results have been collated, eventually against a history of the self.

Why is there so much angst pertaining to measurement? Is it because it’s such a great leveller – ‘what gets measured gets done’ - and one which over time prompts more questions surrounding the root cause?

If one perennially obtains higher scores then another, what are they are doing (or not) and how are they doing it?

Letting go of your feelings and getting in touch with your failings

This leads me to my main point**

I have found that many trainers, teachers, coaches, call them what you will, are excellent at getting into the mood, mastering both content and process and arranging their beliefs so that they encompass their doubts.

They are hyper aware, supremely flexible, 100% relationship and task driven, qualified on paper and in person, confident, in the flow and yet able to wrap all the above in an honest humility when involved in the wonder of learning.

But I have also found that many more with the very same title, job grade and salary (!) are simply not very good. Plain and simple. Or they never were that good, or more worryingly, will never be any good.

Why? Many of my colleagues in training have been effective ‘refugees’ from other departments in the same business that were seeking a work life with flexi-time, working from home and in many cases the avoidance of the role that measurement played in their previous tasks.

No more sales figures to report on, no trend analysis of profit margins, no penalty for budget overruns. In other words nothing that is measured, reported and compared against others on a daily, weekly or monthly cycle.

Still more were relocated into training role through redundancy – thus bringing intense content knowledge to the table often with a presumption that the process of transferral is a naturally occurring phenomenon - ‘how could I not, not do it’.

Inherent to their view is that to being able to train is a silent partner skill and that content alone is king.

The rest that I have known begin each class with a detailed set of well formed, testable objectives for the class, without noticing the irony of their professional life lacking the very same agenda and schedule. Most odd.

What & How are you Measuring?

Will it be on an Objective scale? If so, are you measuring knowledge, skill or both?

What level of retention are you aiming for - instant recall, prompted recognition or the ability to remember freely?

Or are you using a subjective barometer and from where – trainee, sponsor, employer, or all of them?

What weighting or adjustments will you apply for non-English classes, events on site, complex vs. simple content or differing learning mediums.

Will you prorate for more advanced delegates, set a benchmark, look for a 5% lift year on year from each trainer? What score will you aim for and communicate to those attending?

And are these not the conundrums that need solving, not the issue of accepting open and shared measurement in your work life?

Hey Mr Wonderful

No one is saying I am the most wonderful trainer, or if they are then it’s a well kept secret. But being open to measured feedback – objective, subjective, either/or - and then acting upon it is undoubtedly a trait of success.

What have you got to lose, apart from a tight grip upon fear itself?

* did you assume I meant only a bonus of a financial slant, shame on you. Could be a merit badge, extra holiday or some other tangible acknowledgement.

** for point I really mean rant.


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