Learning new skills is an often pleasurable part of working.
Attending training courses is interesting, low in pressure, often fun and also quite social. Courses provide opportunities to network with others within our own companies or potentially others with similar interests outside our own company.
Unfortunately, precious little usually changes when we return to our desks after a day, or even a week away at a training program.
In fact, research conducted by training guru Robert Brinkerhoff demonstrates that if 90% of your company's efforts are in the delivery of training, 70% of the people will try new skills and fail.
However, if 50% of the effort is in the delivery, and 50% in the follow-up activities, then 85% will sustain the new behaviours.
This is why we developed the Clarity First Program as a month-by-month experience for experienced professionals wanting to turn their communication into a real asset.
We offer instruction and support over a time frame that niches with the participants availability and needs.
Here are a few things that we have seen work lately:
Help us understand the real problem that you need to solve
When working with a professional services firm recently, I was asked to help a small group improve the quality of the thinking in their client reports.
It quickly became apparent that the team was struggling with applying our clarity principles because they were using precedent documents rather than working from scratch.
Unless we either revamped the precedents or found an economic way for the team to work from scratch each time, the quality of their reports was not going to improve.
During Clarity First we make a point of using our live sessions to build relevant stories together, so participants can see our structured approach in action while also solving real, tangible issues.
Surprisingly often too, these cross discipline groups come up with breakthrough ideas for each other both in terms of the content of their messaging and the working approaches they can use in their own work.
Check in regularly to make sure the program delivers real impact
This might include an email series offering participants regular challenges that can be discussed in working sessions, sharing success stories from other similar clients, or incorporating mini online learning modules to remind participants of core skills and concepts.
This feeds into the way we have designed Clarity First for individuals and also for corporate groups.
Rather than designing and delivering a ‘training event' we work with participants along their learning journey, for as long as that is helpful for them.
Change the way you think about your skill-building
Focus on regular, small opportunities to learn rather than participating in a ‘once and done' experience.
This way you can learn some ideas, put them into practice and benefit step by step along the way.
The alternative that I have seen far too often is watching people have a great day at a workshop only to return to their desks to a tsunami of emails and other demands which quickly wipe the learning from their minds.
Keywords: leadership, leadership communication, learning and development