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Fla.—Sometimes, the most effective training and development (T&D)
professionals are the ones who say “no” to more training programs. Often,
business leaders view training as the only solution to improving performance,
and that can be a big mistake, according to Roy Pollock, chief learning officer
for the 6Ds Company, a training and development consulting group based in
“Most of the
time, business leaders see performance as a nail and training as the hammer. But
there are other reasons for poor performance that training cannot improve, no
matter how hard you hammer away at it,” Pollock said at the Association for
Talent Development 2015 International Conference & Exposition on May 17.
his co-presenter for the session, Andrew Jefferson, CEO of 6Ds, provided several
examples of poor performance that resulted from other factors, such as poorly
designed compensation packages, inadequate work processes, and lack of proper
workspace and tools.
address and fix one problem, and that is lack of skills and knowledge,”
Jefferson said. “If the performance issue isn’t caused by a lack of skill, then
more training isn’t the answer.”
training professionals, Jefferson said, are those who can recognize the problem
and then offer solutions that work. Pollock and Jefferson discussed a business
that suffered from failing performance. Management at the company had decided
more training was needed to improve worker performance and asked the T&D
group to develop a new program to address the problem.
creating a training program as requested by corporate leadership, the T&D
department analyzed the situation and then offered a list of solutions that
directly addressed management
and work policy procedures—but not training or development.
According to Pollock,
many of the suggestions were implemented, and performance at the company
rebounded. The company’s CEO then recognized the contribution of the T&D
function and commended them on a job well done.
wrote that it was exceptional to have a training and development group that
actually analyzed the business case and came up with the right solution,”
Pollock said. “So there can be a tremendous upside to saying
Jefferson asked the audience to estimate how much training within their
organization was misdirected and ineffective because it didn’t address the core
performance issues. Most people raised their hands when they said “30 percent”
and four or five people raised their hands when they said “50 percent or
“Now think of
this, many of you are saying that what you do for your organization fails a
third of the time, and a few are saying it fails more than half the time,”
Jefferson said. “Don’t you think there’s something wrong with this picture? And
how can anyone maintain credibility within an organization with that kind of
Pollock told the audience that the four keys to improving the effectiveness of
training programs are:
Leonard is an online editor/manager for SHRM.
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