These days, everyone’s an expert. A side-effect of the communication age has been to provide a platform for anyone and everyone to share the wisdom of their knowledge and expertise with the rest of the world. If you want to learn more about the pros and cons of a hard Brexit or what Fernando Alonso is likely to do after quitting Formula One, you can go online and find hundreds, even thousands, of opinion pieces on the matter.
In the worlds of sport, politics and current affairs, that is reasonable enough. People have always enjoyed debating such topics and the internet provides a great platform to do so in ever-wider discussion groups. The problem arises when people take this information sharing to a professional level.
Nurturing your business’s greatest asset
A basic axiom of business is that an organisation’s most important and valuable asset is its people. Developing their knowledge, helping them grow personally, inspiring their engagement with the business, fostering their curiosity, driving their motivation and making them better at what they do are all noble aspirations. They are also things that will benefit both the individuals themselves and the business as a whole.
The right training and development, using the right trainers, can achieve all these things and more. Getting it wrong, however, can actually have the opposite effect. Think about it this way – an interesting day being inspired by a trainer who understands what he or she is talking about, prompts the trainee to think about something in a different way and delivers tangible results in terms of transferring knowledge and skill is clearly something hugely positive.
Hours spent being bored comatose by six hours of PowerPoint slides, or being made to feel uncomfortable and self-conscious in seemingly pointless role-play sessions will only make the trainee feel that they would really prefer not to come into the office tomorrow.
Think about the value triangle
When a business decides to lease some vehicles or outsource its IT, there will be dozens of providers to choose from. Exactly the same applies to acquiring training services. Businesses are often offered seemingly similar training services yet for vastly different prices. If you are faced with two identical courses and one if £400 and the other is £2,000, which one will you take?
It’s not as easy a question to answer as it might sound, as there are two competing clichés desperate to be heard here. One is “if in doubt do what’s cheapest” while the other is “you get what you pay for.” The value triangle is a slight refinement on this last concept, and could be useful here. It essentially says that while people ideally want high quality, speed of service and a low price, the truth is that they can only choose two at the expense of the third.
Clearly, when you are developing your business’s most important asset, it is not a time to be stinting in quality just to get some low-cost and quick training done. The question then becomes how to identify the trainer that will deliver the best quality – we will go into that in part two.