Deliver Better Business Results by Avoiding These 10 Training Traps


As a consultant who specializes in embedding behavior change that leads to sustainable business results, it drives me crazy when poor design of a training initiative is at the heart of results not being achieved after training. Please don’t fall into any of these traps with your next training initiative!

1.  Believing training is the only answer.

First, ask yourself: Why aren’t they doing what you want/need them to do? Is training really the issue?

  • Are they perfectly CLEAR on what they should be doing to drive results? No? Training is not the issue.
  • Are they MOTIVATED to perform the desired skills that will drive results? No? Training is not the issue.
  • Are they CAPABLE to brilliantly perform the desired skills that will drive results? No? Training may be the issue.

If training is the issue, see below.

 2.  The training is missing a clear linkage to a behavior change that will impact business results.

  • Clearly illustrate how, where, when and why the employee should use the new behavior to improve business results.

3.  Mid & Senior level managers aren’t involved in leading the learning.

  • Managers should do more than just show up for lunch and deliver opening & closing comments. If the content matters to your business, then at least co-facilitate to show your level of commitment!

4.  Managers don’t participate in the training.

  • This blows my mind. You can’t coach what you don’t know. And an “overview” briefing on the content isn’t good enough.

5.  There’s a lack of alignment with performance expectations.

  • Ensure you’re not sending mixed messages in your goals, incentive compensation, job descriptions, etc.

6.  There’s a lack of follow-up by the direct manager or supervisor immediately following training

  • This one also blows my mind. If the content they learned matters to your business (& therefore your success), take the time to follow up & coach to it before employees get busy & forget everything they learned.

7.  Executive management doesn’t weave the behavior change outcome into their strategic initiatives and expectations (especially for large-scale, critical training initiatives).

  • As a result, senior executives often forget the training even took place and move on to the next initiative…creating a ripple effect throughout the organization on uncertainty of priorities.

8.  Training is developed in isolation by the training department without partnering with end users.

  • Set yourself & your training course up for success by getting a reality check and buy-in from your internal clients.

9.  Training is too complicated to digest in one learning event.

  • See #10.

10.  Training is structured as a one-time event vs. a piece of an ongoing learning chain of events.

  • Any training that strives for important behavior change shouldn’t be tackled in one shot. Think “layered learning” in smaller bites with on-the-job application assignments in between.

Your thoughts?

Lisa B. Wicklman is Regional Director for North America for Cohen Brown Management Group, Inc.

One response to “Deliver Better Business Results by Avoiding These 10 Training Traps

  1. I was always interested in ‘why in many cases, training alone did not get the results that were anticipated on a regular basis.’ The idea of behavior change was not focused on in of itself in the training sessions normally carried out, as it was assumed that the ‘training agenda’ was a behavior change event. Can you address this gap a bit please? How is behavior change different than just being trained?
    Thanks in Advance.

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