Understanding Training Success: The Android Syndrome

I saw an interesting article, the Best Kept Secrets of Successful Business People, but found many of its ideas fit anyone who seeks success. And there is a purely selfish reason they are kept secret.

However, the question for trainers is: Can you train someone to be successful? I have to answer: Not really. I know it’s silly. After all there are a lot of people, experts in their fields, successful business people, successful speakers and trainers selling their secrets of success. How can they be secrets if they are selling them all the time? They are selling them because there are so many of them and calling them secret is the only way to make them propriatary.

I think, and this may be naiive of me, the only way to sell success is to sell a forum of successful ideas, a philosophy of success. Surely, someone has put that out there. The only problem I see (as an English teacher) is one of attribution–that is giving credit where it is due. Now, we, trainers, do train employees to be successful, to make the company successful if we can, to have emplloyees equipped with the traits the company believes will make ideal employees. I have performed leadership and management training as I’m sure you all have, too. Mostly we concentrate on leadership theory and we break it down into useful tools we can use in the company. The “how” isn’t so much as important as the result and ultimately that is what we do.

Here’s an idea. Think back to when you had a philosophy class, if you did, or psychology class, or even a literature class–actually any class where you might have differing or diverging views. Just as I have my students take multiple sources–a little bit of this, a little bit of that–all the while immersing themselves in the knowledge contained within the whole, and coming up with an original idea. Isn’t that what students do all along? So many years in school and then we find they are still not ready for the world of work.

Some of these secrets of success may propel them from school to the business world, but statistics say that it takes some two years after graduation before any schooling really make sense to students in the real world. I guess the young are really like androids devoid of human thought and creation of their own until we push them in the right direction.

We like the ideas of mentors in business. We like interns. In Medicine, we like interns and rotation of positions, but not all of us are set up that way. That seems to be the way we are dealing with the android syndrome. We force application down many paths so employees see as much of the big picture as possible. And our most successful candidates in those programs go on to be successes. Yes? So we must be on the right track.

So, now we want to tell business success stories. Do we send them to one of these secret success builders? Why? They only get one side there. How about we send them looking for as many secrets of success as they can find through research in libraries, on the net, and put them in a room and let them discuss the practicalities of these notions. Add in a few moderators to keep it civil and focused, maybe focused on the company or government entity. Identity each individual proclivity and you have found the place where this person can succeed beyond your wildest dreams.

This may all be a dream. Sometimes I just do this. I let an idea percolate for a while–sometimes a long while until I think I can put it into words. Create a plan? Well, that’s a job and I’d need to get paid for that. But I hope I have piqued your attention and given you something to think about. As I continue to teach University students and work with creative people in both theatre and writing, I feel more alive than when I was doing the same thing in training everyday. We didn’t have the luxury of time in trying something new. I hope that if I start with an idea, a trainer like one of you somewhere, can finish it with a program or product.

That’s all for me now. A reminder: I do have a website where you can find other items I have written including coupons for my best selling, The Cave Man Guide To Training and Development and my novel about the near future, Harry’s Reality. Happy Training.

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