What does training mean to your organization? Does it mean anything? Is training a wishful activity, a hopeful phrase, or an empty promise?
It surprises me how much professionals talk the hype of training and development, yet don’t implement the practices within their organizations. People may say that training is a quintessential ingredient to success but is it, and if it is, do people do it? Over the last four years, I have been a personal and professional journey of improvement. I have created, implemented, and monitored customized training for myself, colleagues, educational institutions, and small businesses. I have identified and concurred (at least for the time being) my training demons, and have identified three fundamental ways in which training does, in fact, influence your competitive advantage. Therefore, we will discuss “why” and “how” training influences your competitive advantage and what you can do to work on building a stronger competitive advantage.
Training requires knowledge. Knowledge is the sense of understanding the specifics of whatever it is you are trying to achieve. At the most basic level, purpose, within the scope of training is designed to help the individual clearly understand the 4 W’s – what, why, when, and who. To do this, one must conduct a needs assessment. A needs assessment is an investigation of identification of the gaps in skills, competencies, or some other developmental gap. The strategy to conduct a needs assessment is different within the scope and evaluation for individuals, groups, and organizations. The reason there is a difference is because the dynamics are different. However, the concept and theory is the same, i.e. identification of competency gaps.
One of my biggest pet peeves that people tend to do when conducting a needs assessment is that they stop after the identification phase. The identification is the first step, however, stopping after identifying the specific training needs, is like saying “I know what my training needs are, and I am not going to do anything about it,”. Dumb. Seriously, why go through the effort of a needs assessment to simply identify the issues? Analysis of the identified competency gaps can help one to determine “why” the competency gaps exist and the “influence” the gaps have on the current situation. A deeper investigation of the “why” helps to uncover strategies to create the “how” can we move from where we are today with the identified competency gaps to where we want to be. The ability to connect these factors with the outcomes of the needs assessment helps to create the “purpose” behind the training. The “purpose” is the deeper meaning and understanding establishes the reasoning behind the call to action.
Focus without purpose doesn’t exist. That is why it is paramount to establish “purpose.” Purpose fuels focus. Focus is a means of a variety of attitudes, messages, and resources to get from the current state to the desired state with unwavering faith. Focus requires discipline, organization, and energy. It is easy to get distracted, lose motivation, and quit in the face of adversity or pain. However, the greater the focus, the hard it will be to quite. The less focus, the easier it will be to be motivated one day and disconnected the next.
Here, again another pet peeve when it comes to implementing and sustaining training a development model, the lack of continued focus. People can easily get all “gung-ho” about starting a new training program, yet, forget that the means to which the delivery of the training occurs must be disciplined and inspire constant focus. The disciple side helps to ensure accountability of carrying out the essential actions. The inspired constant focus helps to connect the “purpose” with the emotion needed to sustain the continued efforts. People get bored, easily distracted, and unmotivated. Recognizing derailing behaviors during the creation phase can save time, money, resources, and energy. Establishing focus requires preparation. Preparation requires perspective and empathy toward the internal and external factors that may influence the attitudes and behaviors that are needed to carry out the training and development initiatives.
Direction serves as guidance on how to get from the current to future state. The ability to craft specific milestones that support and align with the objectives of achieving the competency training and developments will aid in a more structured approach to getting there. Think of direction as the systems that will be in place that support the objectives, illuminates purpose throughout the stages and pumps focus methodologies along the way. The system is the highway and navigation system to get you to each essential objective.
The key with direction is to know where you are going. This step requires purposeful planning with the use of the data from the needs assessment. The direction is the “how” to achieve the objectives. The “how” requires specific initiatives that support achieving the desired outcomes. In the scope of training and development, this simply means that gap competency training have specific actions, outcomes, and a clear “map” of getting there. Crafting direction requires understanding, analysis, and selection of the best “routes” that provide the greatest value and impact of achieving the desired results.
In conclusion, training and development influence your competitive advantage.
Your competitive advantage is simply what makes you a better option over your competitors. A competitive advantage can be narrowed down from an individual, professional, or organizational standpoint. From an individual standpoint, it could even be applied within the context of becoming the best version of you. From a professional standpoint, becoming a recognized expert in your field. From an organization perspective, becoming the leading choice for whatever it is that your organization does in comparison to your competitors. The training and development needs assessment allows you to assess your current state, identify competency gaps, craft objectives and initiatives to eliminate (or minimize) those gaps, and serve a greater purpose by achieving competency in the specific areas.
by Katie Doseck, PhD MBA
Chief Visionary and Strategic Ace Up Your Sleeve | Viral Solutions LLC
Copyright 2015 by Viral Solutions LLC
We help overwhelmed small business owners duplicate themselves – so business can be fun again
Viral Solutions LLC is a Digital Marketer Certified Partner, an Infusionsoft Certified Consultant, a Google Partner – Certified in AdWords and a Mobit Certified Partner.