“Next week, we will close the training department. We are shifting our focus from training to performance. Legal or the line departments can handle compliance. Any remaining training staff will become mentors, coaches, and facilitators who work on improving core business processes, strengthening relationships with customers, and cutting costs.”
I am certainly all for this idea of shifting the focus from training to performance. But it seems that we’ve been trying to do this for some time. Dave Ferguson will tell you that he has been out on the front lines with this message for what seems like forever. So will Clark Quinn. If that’s the case – namely that many of us in the learning profession believe in performance outcomes over training (and I bet it’s a LARGE majority that do hold this belief) – why have we failed so miserably in making our case to the powers that be as well as to the people we are supposed to serve?
Will Thalheimer may have some clues. In a recent blog post Will contemplated why it is so hard to get people to change their minds about things. He specifically mentioned the examples of anti-bacterial soap and vitamins. Basically, long standing evidence runs counter to people’s standard beliefs, yet even in the face of this evidence, they still cling to older beliefs and behaviors. In his final thoughts, Will says:
“…we often forget that long-held views are not easily overcome. We need to be more careful and more energetic in confronting them. It’s not our learners’ fault when they don’t make the turn. We have to make it our fault. We have to take responsibility.”
My question for all of us to consider is: What’s our responsibility regarding performance outcomes? If we know this is what we need to target, why can’t we get buy-in from other constituencies? Weren’t we ALWAYS supposed to be focusing on improving core business processes? Weren’t we ALWAYS supposed to be strengthening relationships with customers? Weren’t we ALWAYS supposed to be cutting costs?
Are you still using anti-bacterial soap in your training efforts – or have you taken a good hard look at the evidence and decided it’s time to make a change?