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Training managers are often under pressure to design and deliver training on demand. In many cases, the organization dictates what is needed and the training department complies. The question to be asked is, “Are all training requests valid?”
Many requests for training are, in fact, valid. When this is the case, we must design and deliver quality training products to meet the need. But how do we handle the instances when the request isn’t valid? How do we know when to say “no?”
Let me share five examples to show why training managers should question the training request and when to say “no.”
1. When someone asks for training on a “gut feel,” this is the least reliable way to determine if training is necessary. A business partner might feel people are not doing their jobs the way they should, and that training is the solution. In this case, you need more information before acting on the request–just say no!
2. When someone requests training, we ask, “What does expected performance look like?” If the person asking for training answers, “I don’t know,” then we also don’t know. We build training based on the expected performance. If the expected performance is not clearly defined, just say no!
3. We are often tasked with delivering far too much content. We need to set the expectation that if we are to present so much content, something must give—usually practice. The delivery of information on its own is not training. If the client wants a data dump, then we need to be clear that without practice and meaningful feedback we cannot ensure participants will have the knowledge and skill to meet expected performance back on the job–just say no!
4. For training to be successful there needs to be a transfer of training plan. Transfer of training back to the job doesn’t happen on its own. Strategies need to be in place to ensure the knowledge and skill delivered in training are transferred back to the workplace. If no thought has been given to the transfer of training, just say no!
5. When we design and develop training, we need to ensure we evaluate the program. The best time to think about evaluating training is before we design it. Strive to be proactive when it comes to evaluation. If your client has given no thought to how we will measure performance after the training, just say no!
It isn’t easy to say “no.” As training professionals, we need to ask questions and challenge our business partners to really think about their training requests. Our credibility and professionalism are on the line.
We’ll focus on how to handle training requests, pinpoint a true training need, and much more in The Successful Training Manager workshop. Learn how to align your training function with the needs of your organization by providing cost-effective, first-class training.