Posts Tagged ‘Training’

Commitment and Training

Monday, May 19th, 2008

I just returned from another trip to Australia where I was doing some coaching work. While I was there. I met and had dinner with a fascinating couple. He had won the US masters downhill ski championships a few years ago, so you can imagine how good a skier he must be. He and his wife had moved from their homeland of Austria to Australia in the 70’s to start a business, one focused on servicing the ski industry. Along the way, he has become one of the most knowledgeable people in the world regarding the biomechanics of skiers and their equipment (he has consulted to the Austrian national ski team for years).

Over a delightfully long dinner we talked about, amongst other things, what made some people superstars, why some people consistently perform at a very high level, and who the very best are and were in skiing and auto racing. In their opinion (with regard to skiers), Franz Klammer was probably the best of all time, but others like Ingemar Stenmark and Hermann Maier were right up there. Even though I have not seen the coverage of Klammer’s amazing downhill run to win the 1976 Olympic gold medal since that year, I can still picture most of it in my mind. I guess I’ve always been fascinated and drawn to peak performances, no matter what the discipline. Klammer’s gold medal run was one of the all-time great performances, in my opinion.

As this couple told me of their success in the business they created in Australia, building it up and then selling it a few years ago, I asked about some of the keys to their success (it was obvious they didn’t sell a business that was struggling!).

They told me of how they trained retailers about their products better than anyone else. They made sure sellers of their products didn’t just know about the features of their products, but they knew the intimate details of them. They knew the products inside and out. More importantly, the sellers used the product.

I wonder how many companies would be more successful if they made the level of commitment to training that this couple did with their business? It seems to me that many companies talk about training, and they even provide training. But I doubt many companies make the kind of commitment that my dinner hosts did, and to being successful.

As we sat overlooking Sydney Harbour in one of the nicest homes I’ve been in, I thought about Klammer and the training he committed to in order to win an Olympic gold medal… then I thought about what I was going to do next for personal training.

kamagra pharmacie

Does Education Lead to Learning?

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

A good friend of mine makes the differentiation between education and training with a thought-provoking question: Would you like your daughter to attend a sex education or a sex training class? Points out the difference between education and training, doesn’t it?!

A good friend of mine makes the differentiation between education and training with a thought-provoking question: Would you like your daughter to attend a sex education or a sex training class? Points out the difference between education and training, doesn’t it?!

To me, learning is when there has been a change in a person’s mental programming. Education is often – but not always – the process of putting information into someone’s brain. Unfortunately, sometimes when you stuff that information in, it doesn’t stay there. How many times in your life have you studied for some type of exam, cramming your head full of information so you can regurgitate it for the exam, and then not be able to recall even 10% of it a month later?

Education, where information is simply given to the student, does not have a long-term effect on the person’s performance. If the student can’t even recall the information a month later, let alone use the information to change a behavior, then he or she truly has not learned it.

Learning is where the information has been internalized and has changed the student’s mental programming, and there is a change in behavior. Learning is programming, and programming is learning. Mental programming is when the synapses in our brain form a pattern, and we can then repeat the information, the skill, the behavior, or whatever, over and over again at the subconscious level. We know it. We do it. We act it. We perform it.

But, in the words of Harold Stolovitch, “training ain’t performance,” either (in fact, that’s the name of his excellent book, Training Ain’t Performance). Well, not necessarily. Sure, training can lead to a person performing what they were trained to do. But, how often have you sat through a training program and then not performed any differently than you did before the program? Happens all the time, doesn’t it?

If we want to change and/or improve a person’s performance – how they perform a certain activity – we need to change their mental programming. An educational program could do that. A training program could do that. But there is a good chance they won’t. Unless the education or training program does more than just provide information, theory, or knowledge, then any change in mental programming is more up to the individual than it is to anything else. In other words, if the individual doesn’t take the initiative to do something with the information, there will not be much change or improvement.

How many times have you read a book or an article and thought, “That’s good advice – I’m going to do that,” and then not changed? At least not any long-term change. Think of the millions of people who hear or read about a new weight loss diet, say they are committed to it, and are back to the same weight within 6 months. Until a person changes their mental programming of their self-image, and change their habits, it’s very unlikely there will be any long-term weight loss.

The same thing applies to performance in the workplace. Companies spend billions of dollars every year sending their employees to training programs. Unless there is some form of ongoing follow-through, such as coaching, performance improvements are typically small. The training has not resulted in a change in mental programming.

“Xerox Corporation carried out several studies on coaching. They determined that in the absence of follow-up coaching to their training classes, 87% of the skills change brought about by the program was lost. That’s 87 cents on the skills dollar. However good your skills training in the classroom, unless it’s followed up on the job, most of its effectiveness is lost without follow-up coaching.”
Business Wire, July 30, 2001

“A study featured in Public Personnel Management Journal reports that managers (31) that underwent a managerial training program showed an increased productivity of 22.4%. However, a second group was provided coaching following the training process and their productivity increased by 88%. Research does demonstrate that one-on-one executive coaching is of value.”
F. Turner, Ph.D. CEO Refresher

studio 6 jacksonville

What You Really Need to Learn

Monday, March 10th, 2008

What, do you suppose, is the most important thing you learned from your formal education? Was it the ability to read? Was it a specific skill that you use on a daily basis in your job today? Or was it the ability to think through problems to find a solution?

While all of these things are extremely important – no, critical – I would suggest the most important thing one learns from any type of education is simply this…

What, do you suppose, is the most important thing you learned from your formal education? Was it the ability to read? Was it a specific skill that you use on a daily basis in your job today? Or was it the ability to think through problems to find a solution?

While all of these things are extremely important – no, critical – I would suggest the most important thing one learns from any type of education is simply this: how to learn. And I believe this critical skill is becoming more and more important with every year that passes. Why?

The skills you need today in your job are not going to be the same skills you’ll need in the near future. Decades ago, when someone started a career, it was typically something they would stick with until they retired. The skills they needed in the beginning were not much different than the skills they needed as they neared retirement. That is far from the way it is today. And the skills that would equip you to do a job even a decade or so ago are not the skills one needs today.

The workplace changes so quickly these days that the skills you need today may be outdated in as little as 6 months from now.

The number one skill today’s workers need to be successful is the ability to adapt, change, and acquire new skills quickly. In other words, to learn.

In Daniel Pink’s book, A Whole New Mind, he suggests that the era of the knowledge worker (the phrase that Peter Drucker coined) is changing. He says, “We must perform work that overseas knowledge workers can’t do cheaper, that computers can’t do faster, and that satisfies the aesthetic, emotional, and spiritual demands of a prosperous time.”

Imagine yourself five years from now. What will your job look like? What will you be doing? What is the most important skill you will need to perform that job? What about 10 years from now? Or beyond?

My bet is on learning how to learn – that’s the most important skill one needs for the future. Drucker said, “The only thing we know about the future is that it will be different.”

ripped tiger