“I’m looking for affection and respect – a little passion; and you want stimulation”

Woman of Heart and Mind / Joni Mitchell (Mitchell)

It’s hard to give people what they want when you don’t know why they signed up.

Or maybe they never signed up in the first place? Without mangling this metaphor too far from its original meaning, I’d like to look at it in terms of Training.

In my experience, the justification for a training need is usually to enhance Performance. With enhanced performance comes increased profit, or smaller losses, or less waste or larger market share and hence satisfaction for stakeholders.

Through the lens of HR this can be reframed as greater engagement or empowerment or buy in – love your Job and show passion toward the Company.

So, what do delegates want when they turn up on the day? Stimulation!

Make me smile, make me laugh, send me away motivated – make my day!

Some will talk about takeaways – give me something I can eat on the way home.

Using either my metaphor or Joni’s meaning, surely the way ahead is to understand and respect what the other party is looking for; to get why the need has arisen and over what timescale? HR people tell me their 1:1’s happen often enough for this to be a pushover.

As a trainer of 20 years’ experience, I get 8/10 feedback for one of 3 reasons;

  1. I’m hitting the espoused outcomes and not the expectations in the room
  2. I’m hitting the delegates’ needs but not proving bottom-line impact
  3. I’m only an 80% trainer – 20% worse than the previous guy

Assuming its not (c), what’s the answer?

Maybe HR and/or Operational Management could ask their employees what they really need? Perhaps 1:1 and Employee Satisfaction Survey feedback, could be taken literally and seriously. When people say they are stressed out or unhappy at work we could look at addressing that point rather than throwing bribes and targets at the issue or topping up skills where mindset change is required.

Training should not take place at behavioural level but should operate more deeply with feelings or even beliefs.

As Mark Knopfler wrote in Junkie Doll, “You spiked my arm, but you missed the vein”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *