Saturday, December 19, 2009

Transitioning from Traditional training to Performance Consulting

“Remember, training is not what is ultimately important …….performance is”
– Marc Rosenberg

One of my friends working as a trainer with an MNC financial services firm gets a call from his operations manager telling her that the training she conducted for his team has done nothing to the falling customer satisfaction scores. The statement clearly said “whatever you did certainly didn’t work”. This leaves my friend very perplexed.
Scenarios like this are a common feature in many organizations. What these scenarios have in common is today training is being looked at as a tool to enhance performance.

Most of the expenditure on training & development is wasted as skills and knowledge gained during training sessions are not appropriately applied by employee on the shop floor. Only about 10% of these expenditures are transferred to the job. This makes it imperative for training to move from traditional approach to the performance approach.

Bob Mager and Peter Pipe have advocated that trainers differentiate between skill and knowledge deficiencies and other work environment factors that affect performance. For over three decades , Tom Gilbert has advocated performance analysis based upon rigorous examination of exemplary performers. He has argued that this is not enough to ask exemplary performers what they do; instead analyst must observe their performance.

There is no doubt that our economy is changing in fundamental and many far reaching ways. The performance demands placed on employees are demanding and their work is changing every day. The competitive advantage and survival of any organization demands that its employees perform at high level.

This brings in a tremendous opportunity for professionals in “training & development” space, as in their quest to achieve high employee performance & productivity, Management and others will seek out these people who can partner them to install the performance required by the organization.

Thus trainers today must be able to do:
1. Develop collaborative working relationships with key managers and other stake holders
2. Clearly understand the Vision and mission of the management
3. Identify the performance levels required by employees to survive
4. Work with people in and outside the management to determine all interventions required to be a “High Performance Organization”

These activities are clearly outside the preview of traditional training processes. Hence trainers today have to transition themselves from being trainers to Performance Consultants who can help employee to identify and achieve performance excellence linked to business goals. The theme that comes out of this discussion is “think performance, not training

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