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Thursday
Jul012010

Getting Certified is Not (Necessarily) Getting Trained

If you have tried some training in your business, especially the soft skills training such as communication, teamwork and personal development, you already know that it does not “work.” Here’s my compilation of the most severe training mistakes businesses make in applying business training, either to themselves or their people.

7. Expecting a “Graduation Date” for Your Training Efforts: Certificate Mentality Versus Learning Mentality

Most certifications are intellectually driven. Meaning that they are designed to get you to the point where you can “pass the test.” Nothing wrong with that. The only problem, though, is that you have gone only one-fourth of the way to mastering what you are learning. True learning takes you from head to heart, from heart to gut and from gut to actions.

The certification training works great in the academic world. Unfortunately, academics by itself can’t change your behavior or the behavior of the people in your business. If behavior does not change, your results won’t change.

In fact, I believe that the mastery of a new level of behavior and new level of results does not happen during training. It happens after the training, in the real world, applying the stuff that was taught in the class. A test is logical, step-by-step and ideological. There a “right” or a “wrong” answer; there is pass or fail. Real world is not so pretty. Real world is often messy, unpredictable and inconsistent.

That’s why, mastery requires that we not only cognitively understand the material but can also apply it artfully and skillfully in the real world. That’s why, real training and learning require life-time commitment. And that’s why there is no graduation in real learning.

8. Putting All Your Money in Technical or Skills Training Versus Human Side of Training

Have you ever been annoyed by an overly confident computer guy? Have you ever been irritated by a know-it-all engineer? Have you ever been in presence of a techie who made you feel dumb because he was so smart? If you did, you most likely experienced the results of over-training of technical skills.

It’s a very strange phenomenon. The more technically competent a person becomes, the worse communicator, leader and a team player she becomes. There are psychological reasons behind this phenomenon that we don’t have the time to get into just yet. But we don’t have to understand psychology to know when we are dealing with a poor leader, communicator or team-player.

When we send our folks to technical training, we gain more technical competence, certainly. But more often than not, we also get a less competent leader, a poorer communicator and a worse team-player. It appears like a trade-off. We trade technical skills and competence for human skills.

To temper such a tendency, we must “balance” every technical training with some soft-skills training, such as communication, customer service, self-management, time management, interpersonal communication and so on. The rule of thump is that for every hour your folks spend getting technically trained, they should be spending another hour on the softer side of things, improving their human side of skills.

Here’s the full list of training mistakes, those that we covered in the past and those that we will soon cover.

1. Failure to Commit to a Single Philosophy or Methodology.


2. Thinking “Training is for My People, Not for Me.” Or “I am ‘Above’ Training; It’s for My People.”

3. View the Trainer as Subservient to You.

4. Training is Conducted to Fix Hiring Mistakes.

5. Wrong Training is Delivered to Wrong People.

6. Putting an Underperformer in Training and Hoping that She will Outperform Your Top Producer.

7. Expecting a “Graduation Date” for Your Training Efforts: Certificate Mentality Versus Learning Mentality.

8. Putting All Your Money in Technical or Skills Training Versus Human Side of Training.

9. Ignoring Doing a Return On Analysis on the Training Program You Invest In.

10. Viewing Training as a Commodity.

11. Expecting Training to be Easy and Comfortable

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