Bad Corporate Training
Many of us have been subject to corporate training that was somewhat less than enlightening. If you’ve been
in one of those session you might remember longing
for it to be over so you could get back to the work you
knew was piling up on your desk.
Do you recall what made the actual training so bad?
Was it the:
- Obnoxious trainer?
- Nice trainer with terrible training skills?
- Horrendous training materials?
- Absence of training materials?
- Topic that you had zero interest in exploring?
- People with whom you participated?
- Bad timing of the training?
(It took you out of the office during a very busy period - i.e. Christmas for a retail store manager.)
- Training’s lack of relevance to your professional role and goals?
In What Drives Training Decisions, I observed that within organizations “…every three or so years, “the powers that be” will realize that they haven’t implemented…training…for some time. So the budget will be made available…to “do something.” After taking a cursory look at what’s “hot” in the training world, they will chose a few selections that they feel will create a tasty training menu.”
One example of such is a company is a major financial firm that started up in my hometown, Toronto. Between 1994 and 1999 it grew from a 100 person firm with one office, to a 2000 person firm with multiple offices across Canada. Now you might be thinking, “They must have had a fantastic training strategy to grow so fast!” Actually, they didn’t.
This firm’s executive training and management training approach consisted of bringing in authors and professional speakers to present to 50 or 100 employees at a time. There was no curriculum based on their managers’ or executives’ professional development needs. There was no measurement system to assess either knowledge retention or increased performance. This company simply threw information at their employees at regular intervals and believed that it had an effective employee development program.
That was easy to believe. After all, the company was growing rapidly, its profits were soaring and its market penetration was increasing in leaps and bounds. What they didn’t realize was that this success was largely attributable to good luck. They had been in the right market space at the right time with the right mix of products and services. And their luck continued through May 2000 when they were acquired by a much larger financial firm.
Why was that lucky? Because like a “hot stock” or commodity in a volatile market, this firm’s success was not built on a solid foundation. It could have been lost as quickly as it was gained. You see, it had attracted employees who were stars at riding the waves of success and failed to train them in other proficiencies. Its people lacked the skills, experience and resilience to successfully navigate becalmed or stormy seas.
And it’s not just companies that are unclear on what distinguishes the best training from mediocre or bad training. Many independent professionals and entrepreneurs also find distinguishing good training from bad rather challenging.
What’s the worst training you have experienced? Tell us about your best or worst corporate training - and what it was, specifically, that made them good or bad.