“Big Picture Professional Education is Necessary for Company Success”

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“Big Picture Professional Education is Necessary for Company Success”
By Hank Moore

Categories of Professional Education

There is a difference between how one is basically educated and the ingredients needed to succeed in the longterm. Many people never amass those ingredients because they stop learning or don’t see the need to go any further. Many people think they are “going further” but otherwise spin their wheels.

There is a large disconnect between indoctrinating people to tools of the trade and the myriad of elements they will need to assimilate for their own futures. Neither teachers nor students have all the necessary ingredients. It is up to both to obtain skills, inspiration, mentoring, processes, accountability, creativity and other components from niche experts.

Therein lies the problem. Training vendors sell what they have to provide…not what the constituencies or workforces need. Emphasis must be placed upon properly diagnosing the organization as a whole and then prescribing treatments for the whole, as well as the parts. Training should be conducted within a formal, planned program that addresses the majority of organizational aspects.

7 Biggest Misconceptions About Training

1. One Size Fits All. If it’s not customized, it’s not going to be effective.

2. Trainers Are Business Experts. Generally, they are vendors who sell “off the shelf” products that target small niches within the organization. Few are schooled in full-scope business culture and have not been previously engaged to advise organizations at the top.

3. Human Resources Oversees Training. By their nature, HR departments are designed to uphold processes and systems. Training is about change, which contradicts the basic construction of HR. Not all HR people are versed in the subtle nuances of people skills and are, thus, not the best to supervise training. It really should not be under the thumb of HR.

4. Trainers Write the Training Plans. All major departmental plans should be written objectively and in concert with the Strategic Plan…by qualified advisors. Training companies often give free assessments in order to sell their programs. Free surveys do not constitute a cohesive plan. Let trainers do what they do best: training. Let experienced planners design the training plan, with input from trainers included. Don’t let the plan evolve from a training company’s sales pitch.

5. Only Industry Experts Can Train in Our Company. What companies need most is objective business savvy and sophisticated overviews. Core industry “experts” only know core industry issues from their own experiences. Quality training must focus on dynamics outside the core business, yet should have relativity to the organization.

6. One Course Will Fix the Problem. Training is not a punishment for having done something “wrong.” It’s a privilege…a major benefit of employment. It unlocks doors to greater success, growth and profitability…for those trained and for the sponsoring organization. In order to be competitive in the future, today’s workers will need three times the training that they are now getting.

7. That It’s Supposed to Be Popular. The biggest mistake that meeting planners make is determining the effectiveness of training and training professionals via audience survey. Most conference evaluation forms are lightweight and ask for surface rankings…rather than for nuggets of knowledge learned. Speakers and training budgets are therefore judged upon whimsical comments of individual audience participants…which get harsher when the training is for topics they need, rather than things they would “prefer” to hear. Voices of reality are always criticized by people who really are not qualified to assess them.

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Professional education is the most important ingredient in corporate development. Today’s workforce will need three times the amount of training that it now gets…if the organization intends to stay in business, remain competitive and tackle the future successfully. Each year, one-third of the Gross National Product goes toward cleaning up problems, damages and the high costs of doing either nothing or the wrong things. Half of that amount goes toward some form of persuasion, instruction, spin-doctoring or educating.

More often that not, “training” is a vehicle to tout one’s viewpoint, tinker with old problems or blame someone else for the course of events. If training is viewed as band-aid surgery to fix problems, then it will fail. Managers who have this “fix those people” mindset are, in fact, the ones who need substantive training the most.

Training is rarely allowed to be extensive. It is usually technical or sales-marketing in nature. Employees and executives are rarely mentored on the people skills necessary to have a winning team. Thus, they fail to establish a company vision and miss their business mark. Outside of “think tanks” for company executive committees, full-scope education does not occur. This is primarily because niche trainers recommend what they have to sell, rather than what the company needs. Niche trainers impart their own perspectives out of context to the whole of the organization.

Team building must be part of the corporate Vision first, not as a series of exercises delegated to trainers. I conduct Executive Think Tanks for corporate management. The success of this enables trainers with the “rank and file employees” to be optimally successful. Organizations of all sizes must have the Think Tank…which delineates future operations, including education and training. Training is unfairly blamed and scapegoated for pieces of the organizational mosaic that Strategic Planning and cohesive corporate Vision should have addressed early-on. Trainers cannot reconstruct organizational structure, nor can other niche consultants.

Companies owe it to themselves to think and plan…before launching piecemeal training programs. After carefully articulating and understanding direction, then training needs (including team building and empowerment) will stand a chance of being successful.

7 Steps of Professional Development

1. Teaching-Training. Conveying information, insights and intelligence from various sources. Categorized by subject, grade level and methods of delivery. Expert teachers (fountains of learning material) are the building block in the educational process, and the student must be an active participant (rather than a non-involved or combative roadblock).

2. Studying. One cannot learn just by listening to a teacher. Review of material, taking notes, seeking supplementary materials and questing to learn additionally must occur.

3. Learning. The teacher instructs, informs and attempts to enlighten. The student accepts, interprets and catalogs the material taught. Periodically, the material is reviewed.

4. Information. As one amasses years of learning, one builds a repository of information, augmented by experiences of putting this learning into practice.

5. Analysis. One sorts through all that has been learned, matched with applicabilities to daily life. One determines what additional learning is necessary and desired. From this point forward, education is an ongoing process beyond that of formal schooling. If committed, the person turns the quest for knowledge into a life priority.

6. Knowledge. A Body of Knowledge is derived from years of living, learning, working, caring, sharing, failing and succeeding. This step is detailed in my monograph, “The Learning Tree”: (1) Life. (2) Living Well. (3) Working Well. (4) Education. (5) Philosophy. (6) Self Fulfillment. (7) Purpose and Commitment.

7. Wisdom. This requires many years of commitment to learning, compounded by the continuous development of knowledge. Few people attempt to get this far in the educational process. Those who do so have encompassed profound wisdom. This step is detailed in my monograph, “7 Layers of Wisdom”: (1) Glimmer of An Idea. (2) Learning Curve. (3) Applications for Lessons Learned. (4) Trial and Error, Success and Failure. (5) Teaching, Mentoring. (6) Insights, Beliefs, Systems of Thought. (7) Profound Wisdom, Life Perspectives.