in Improvement & Development

Training: The Change Agent

Organizations that embark on process journey initiate rigorous training programs to ensure that everyone is trained to perform activities associated with specific roles. While these initiatives start with a lot of zest, somewhere, it loses steam. I have seen training programs becoming more of a “necessary evil” over a period of time. Trainers take these trainings for granted and completely lose the sight of their objectives. They conduct trainings simply because they have a budget/training process/calendar that they have to comply with.

Imparting training is a costly affair. So many people from your organization spend those precious hours either conducting or attending training. Trainings done as a “necessary evil” is one of the biggest wastes I have seen in organizations. Effective trainings have become absolutely critical in knowledge oriented world to maintain the competitiveness and innovation.

For training to really deliver value, we need a shift in mindset. Trainings are not a just one-way affair – they are the change agents. Trainings, if done with right intent and zeal can transform the organization. Trainings are a great forum to set the expectations on behaviors you value and build the culture.

In one of the consulting companies I know, the Managing Director/Founder attended the quality induction training in the very first batch. He gave a clear message across the organization that attending the training was crucial, and that if he can attend it, no one else should be too busy not to attend it. Top management championed the cause to set the right example at the onset.

Training a mass may be a good way to drive expectations, but for training to be a change agent, we need to influence one person at a time. I know a technical leader who is very conscious about on-the-job mode of training. He believes that doing things together is the best way to teach. He uses a combination of class room training and interactive/short one on one sessions to drive learning in his team.

Bottom line: Whether you are a business leader, training manager or a trainer, ask this question before planning any training, “What change do I wish to see as a result of this training?” and your perspective would change from “imparting knowledge” to “inducing change”. Treat training as a change agent.

    • @Ashok Vaishnav: It sounds like a very interesting book. I have added it in my reading list. Hope to read it sooner.

      Thanks for sharing!

      Best,
      Tanmay

  1. You speak the truth in this blog post! I don’t know how many times I’ve seen supervisors or managers just hand an employee a giant stack of SOPs and expect them to be fully functional workers after one read. It also frustrates me to no end when I get a big sigh and roll of the eyes when I try and schedule a training session that requires employees to take some time off the production floor. If you are not dedicating time and effort to properly train your employees they will feel unvalued and their performance (and your bottom line) will suffer. Great content, as always.

    P.S. – I also posted a blog about training last night!

    • @Ian, I read your post with great interest and when small changes in SOP’s are to be executed, training can become tricky in large or distributed environments. Simplicity in training breeds effectiveness and sometimes we get lost in the jungle of formalities. As you rightly said, training has a direct impact on bottom line.

      Best,
      Tanmay

      • The training to be effective need to not only explain WHAT, but need to explain WHY as well.
        This is likely to create the required buy-in.One need to only present the Product and then allow the Customers to buy-in, in order to create an atmosphere of voluntary acceptance.
        More the voluntary acceptance, more would be sustainability of the intended change.
        In fact, such a situation also throws up informal change-leader-agents, too.
        These informal, but natural, change-agents can greatly leverage the spread of the change.
        The process needs to autogenous.
        Here lies the true sucess of the trainer.

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