4 reasons training does not result in organizational development

Fix your training ailments
Almost all of us have sat in a corporate training busily responding to e-mail, reading an article, or generally not paying attention to the training we are supposed to be receiving. At the end of the session we moved no further along our career arc, the company isn’t getting any of the performance gain it had hoped for, and the provider of training provider ends up with a client that isn’t interested in future offerings. Are you sick of getting poor results from your training efforts? Take a look at these four training illnesses and remedies:
Illness: Instructoritis
The person providing the training or education is often the most important component in driving training value. Getting someone who has not just taught it, but has done it, can be a great differentiator for folks trying to get the value from their training dollar.
Look for the instructor bios in your training course catalog. Check for relevant experience where possible, and reviews if available. A little bit of online research in advance of choosing an instructor can go a long way to ensuring you receive value from that instruction.
Illness: Dis-Organizational Issues
Your organization isn’t ready to leverage the skills you are building in the training. Coming back from training just means returning to the same problems armed with solutions that can’t or won’t be implemented. Not only can this be frustrating for the individual involved, but it can end in even more issues for the organization if the person then takes those new skills and uses them to get a job in an organization that is ready to leverage those skills.
Make sure you take into account where you are as an organization. Are you ready to leverage the skills that are being developed? Are you committed to embracing the skills you are developing by sending this person, or team, to training? I think the two weeks following a training session play a huge role in the overall success or failure of the training effort. If your organization isn’t going to commit to leveraging the training in the near term, it probably shouldn’t invest in the training at all.
Illness: Wrong Material, Wrong Time, Wrong person
Your organization is putting people into classes that are preparing you to overcome the wrong hurdle, at the wrong time, and with the wrong people.
Choosing the what, when and who to invest in organizational development is critical. Organizations need to choose the courses and people that will help them meet their unique requirements rather than the rigid application of best practice. Certifications are often great indicators that a person has reached a certain level of understanding with a technical material, or they can simply reflect mastery of the course material and not mastery in the application of the domain expertise. There is also a right time to get certain training, either as part of a sequence that builds one set of skills on top of another or the right organizational timing in order to ensure the right skills are in place to meet transformation goals.
Illness: Lack of Dedicated Time
Your organization expects you to be an expert the day you come back from training and to continue to execute on your previous workload; all the while ensuring the lessons you’ve learned turn into value for the organization.
A two day course on leadership isn’t a magic bullet. In the right hands it provides a deeper level of insight and a jumping off point for further development while also requiring a personal and organizational commitment to be effective. Mentoring can be an effective mechanism for helping to ensure that the growth that begins in the classroom continues in the field.

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Sandy Wells

To suggest that training in some way results in Organization Development is like saying one good meal results in overall body health. OD is a total system alignment to increase overall organizational capability. Training is but one piece of building individual and team capability–which multiplied by the entire organization, may or may not result in a sound organizational system.

That said, I agree that the overall theme of this piece is on target.

Joshua Millsapps

Sandy – I couldn’t agree more that there is a system view required in order to realize a high performing organization. I also like your note tying the team into the mix, given how much most organizations depend on teams rather than individual efforts. Thanks for the feedback.