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Ten Tips for Training in Anxious Times

April 24, 2002
Related Topics: Behavioral Training, Basic Skills Training, Featured Article

Here are some things to think about when developing and marketing a trainingprogram.

  • Most times in business are anxious times. Let’s face it, maintaining thestatus quo is not the goal at work. Things are always changing, whether timesare good or bad. Accept that training is never "done." It’s a process, notan event, as trainers love to say.

  • It’s not business as usual. Don’t simply rush into the day of trainingas if nothing has happened. The white elephant in the corner is looming for allto see. Start off your training sessions with an admission that there are otherthings on people’s minds. Clear the air as much as possible before startingthe program.

  • Market your training program appropriately. Don’t call customer-servicetraining "Creating Loyalty" after you just laid off 20 percent of youremployees. Bill it instead as "Using your customer-service skills to build astronger company."

  • Focus on a survivor strategy. Your audience in a training program maythink that those laid off were the lucky ones. A winning spirit can reinvigoratethe survivors with a concerted effort and an organizational vision for thefuture. Instead of using hype, focus on the strength of the company in an honestand sincere way. People respect this and will respond.

  • Lead yourself. Whether you have any subordinates or not, your attitude andbehavior influence the group for better or worse. The best way to positivelyaffect the training environment is by constructively leading yourself. Practiceintrospective techniques to hone your self-leadership qualities.

  • Know the system you work within. Not only is it helpful to know yourselfso that turbulent times don’t throw you for a loop, but it’s equallyimportant to know the system dynamics of where you are working. If you are notaware of the multitude of variables affecting the system, you can beat your headagainst the wall trying to move something along.

  • Be "strategic." If you’re at the beck and call of every trainingconsideration that arises, you never get to see "the big picture." Use yourtraining knowledge and position to enhance the strategic direction of thecompany. Sit in on planning meetings, give advice on the training components,and provide flexible approaches to training that suit the new environment.

  • Train in concert with the espoused values. Training sessions are more thantraining sessions; they are opportunities to live espoused organizationalvalues. A company poster hanging in the lunchroom advocating family/work balancedoesn’t have much credence if the accepted norm is working 60 to 70 hours perweek. The same holds true for marathon training programs.

  • Look for fresh perspectives. Consider low-cost training programs such asmentoring and on-the-job coaching. Explore collaborations for sharing costs.Network with your peers for different approaches.

  • Relax. Life is really much too short to worry!

Workforce Online, May 2002 -- Register Now!

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