Top 5 Training Strategy Mistakes to Avoid

A business man is pushing against 5 giant light bulbs that signify 5 ways to plan a training strategy that works

Experienced learning leaders know there are 5 top training strategy mistakes to avoid.

Good learning leaders start by creating a strategy that outlines clear and compelling choices about where to play and what actions to take.

Done right, a successful training strategy sets a learning and development function up to perform beyond just the sum of its parts.  Without a clear direction, your training function may tactically achieve some short-term wins, but it will fail to garner the ongoing trust, support and results required to make a meaningful impact on your career, your company or your employee base.

There are many different paths to creating a successful training function. In our experience, however, there are 5 main strategic approaches that differentiate one training function from another.  One direction is not necessarily better than another.  Rather, the key is to create a core focus that works in your specific environment and addresses your most pressing needs. A successful training function, however, always aligns with the company’s business strategy, organizational culture and talent management scheme.

  1. Skill and Development Focus
    1. Purpose: To develop and maintain skills of target employees to improve career development, engagement and productivity
    2. Common Mistake: Assuming that a lack of skills, competency or knowledge is always the root cause of the problem
    3. Examples: GE’s Management Development Institute in Crotonville, New York or Accenture’s Corporate University in St. Charles, Illinois
  1. External Customer Focus
    1. Purpose: To deliver technical skills and knowledge to customers, vendors, suppliers or partners to increase loyalty, mind-share and adoption
    2. Common Mistake: Assuming that it will be easy to keep product and service information accurate and up to date and that programs created without instructional design expertise will be effective
    3. Examples: Cisco’s Certification or Microsoft’s Customer Education Programs
  2. Change Management Focus
    1. Purpose: To enable organization-wide change and transformation
    2. Common Mistake: Lack of top management support and direct involvement and thinking that transforming corporate cultures, structures and processes will be easy
  3. Strategic Business Focus
    1. Purpose: To support the design and implementation of key strategic initiatives
    2. Common Mistake: Thinking that anything other than a high fidelity action-learning approach will suffice or that it is too difficult, expensive or time consuming to measure skill adoption and business impact
    3. Example: Motorola’s roll-out of their quality initiative and expansion into Asia
  4. Research Academic Focus
    1. Purpose: To be at the forefront of future needs and approaches
    2. Common Mistake: Assuming that you can replicate research labs and universities dedicated to research and experiment

The Bottom Line
Before you make your first training move (i.e. training systems, resources, processes, programs, people, content, budgets, etc.) to meet the ever-increasing demands of your stakeholders, make sure that you and your executive team agree on the fundamental purpose of the training function and how it directly aligns with the corporate strategy.

For if you and your key stakeholders do not agree on the motivations and long-term reasons for your learning and development function, your chances of success are slim.

To learn more, please download the full article: The 5 Most Common Training Function Strategies and Key Mistakes to Avoid

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