Monday, January 25, 2010

Taking Performance Issues Beyond the Training Quick Fix

Wondering why training is not solving a performance issue?

My grandfather first taught me you can lead a horse to water, but that horse would have gone anyway when it was thirsty. My 20 years of training and development experience has also taught me the valuable skill of resisting the immediate urge to fix things with training when someone says there is a performance issue.

Like many of my business colleagues, I want to lead that horse to water, but with performance driving our organizational economic factors we need training to be more than a quick fix. It must be the key that unlocks ROI (Return on Investment).

If training is just a way to lead that horse to water, we have to rethink how the horse would solve the problem and realize that training is only part of the solution.

If you are a learning professional, the best thing you can do is have and use a process to understand why training is needed. What problem are you really trying to solve? Critical thinking skills and inquisitive instincts will help us understand the situation and determine the appropriate intervention to best solve the problem.

Begin by asking these 5 "W" questions:
  1. Why is there a performance issue (supported with hard data and facts)?
  2. What is the performance issue (gap between expectations and results)?
  3. Who is involved?
  4. When did the issue begin?
  5. What happened prior to the issue occurring (consider environmental issues and any changes such as job, procedure, policy, management, etc. Information/data for the previous 6 months is helpful if available)?

With this information we can create a performance improvement plan that will produce meaningful and lasting results. We will have an action plan for implementation and anticipated metrics to measure and demonstrate results.

Our guest blogger, Peggy Rang, M.Ed., is a Training and Performance Improvement Consultant.

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