Do your staff attend management training courses but fail to take anything away from them?

Does your management training deliver the results you want, or is it just a waste of time and money?

Have you or a colleague attended a management training course but failed to take anything away from it?

We have all attended a course at some time in our lives and wished we hadn’t bothered!  But why does this happen?

Most of the answers are quite straight forward and with the right amount of thought, planning and preparation, you can ensure that you get the results you want from any management training programme.  Try using the following 10 principles:

  1. Be clear about the purpose of the management training programme.  What is it that you wish to see differently from the participants?  What new knowledge, skills or behaviours do they need to learn/develop?
  2. Sponsor the participants learning and development.  Who in the organisation cares about the participants attending the programme?  How will the participant’s learning be reviewed, and what support will they be given by their boss/manager?
  3. Make the programme relevant. Spend time prior to the training sessions to understand the participants, their wants and needs.  We remember things better when they matter to us, and we are more likely to pay attention to a trainer or a topic when we can apply it to our own lives. When conducting management training sessions, taking active steps to make abstract concepts personally relevant is critical.
  4. Make sure the learning can be used immediately. We forget things that we don’t regularly practice.  Have you ever been on a finance training course but then forgotten how to prepare the budget or cash flow statement because the course was 6 months ago?
  5. Limit the use of ‘training DVD’s’.  Watching television or a film is a very passive activity and while some messages can be effectively communicated in this way it should not be the primary means of communication. For example, think about using brief clips to illustrate specific points, or to “break up” a training session.
  6. Keep the learning interactive. This sounds simple, but sometimes trainers are unaware of how much they “talk at” rather than “talk with” their participants.  Ask questions, make it participative, and think of creative ways of involving the participants through exercises and discussions.
  7. Be careful after lunch. Try not to talk right after a meal, particularly lunch. It is very difficult to learn when your body is telling you it is time for a nap. Better to have the participants do something active.
  8. Space out training sessions.  Very little is learned by cramming things in. Make sure that after a training session the participants have an appropriate amount of time to put into practice what they have learned before embarking on the next piece of learning.
  9. Use ‘group work’ to solve problems and reinforce learning.  Participants benefit from working together to solve particular problems.  For example, one may have an issue with motivation and morale in their team.  How can the others help them to resolve this?  What have they learned on the programme that they can put into practice?
  10. Encourage participants to read around the subject.  Provide additional reading materials, books, articles internet sites etc to enable the participants to further their development.

The next time you wish to run a management training programme, stop to consider which of these points you could include to make your programme more effective.  If you are hiring a management training company to deliver it for you, check with the provider before they start – how many of the above elements do they include in their programmes.  If it’s not many – find one that does!