It’s has been claimed by the likes of Donald Taylor and Jay Cross, that training must transform itself or risk being ignored. And there is a feeling in the training world that all is not well, and that the deep, dark secret is that training is regarded by many as second-rate, full of odd people delivering oddball stuff using outdated methods.
For the first time I’ve seen evidence that this may be true. So I draw your attention to this independent survey of decision makers at 100 of the UKs top 500 companies (by turnover):
70% see inadequate staff skills as barrier to growth
40% see risk of employee skills risk being obsolete
55% claim L&D failing to deliver necessary training
46% doubt L&D can deliver
less than 18% agree that L&D aligned with business
(Coleman Parkes Spring 2010)
Too often astrology not astronomy
Worrying or what? Imagine the furore around these stats if applied to your production, finance or marketing department. These stats suggest an L&D lag that threatens to hold organisations back in any economic recovery. What lies at the heart of all this is a non-strategic approach to training and development. The industry is mired in a gooey swamp of faddish, non-empirical and ineffective approaches from fuzzy leadership courses to life coaching and NLP, that ignores key competences. It’s too often astrology and not astronomy.
Imagine the production department hand crafting products using cranky old mechanical, as opposed to computer controlled, production tools. Imagine the finance department using pen and paper without the use of spreadsheets and computers. Imagine the marketing department ignoring the breadth of marketing techniques and ignoring online marketing. That’s exactly what training departments so often do – the main form of delivery is STILL largely talk and chalk.
Getting our houses in order means producing some real strategic initaives within a change management context. It means shortening courses and replacing many courses with more agile and flexible tools and delivery methods (usually online). It means making courses shorter and cutting curricula to avoid duplication. It means less classrooms and depressing 3 star hotel venues and more fast delivery design and delivery (usually online). It means reorganising L&D around a more flexible and responsive delivery. It means a different set if skills within L&D. It means better evaluation, targeted at the decision makers. It means freeing training from that money-making monopoly the CIPD. Above all it means fostering a spirit of innovation within L&D that matches the aspirational innovation of the organisation.