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Two Training Fallacies

Updated: Mar 26, 2021

The KnowledgeWorkx learning philosophy and why we won’t use the “T” word.

We take a break from sharing stories of how the Three Colors of Worldview and 12 Dimensions of Culture models play out in the real world, and talk about what really connects 'Training' to Performance.

The Gold Standard in Learning Journeys Isn’t Good Enough

KnowledgeWorkx has three criteria that have to be in place before we will deliver a learning program; our evaluators have to be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the program we are delivering is:

  • Individually beneficial

  • Beneficial for the group the individual belongs to

  • Measurably builds skills and competencies

People hope that if training really has these three things in place, it will eventually lead to an improvement in performance. But even if a learning program is a runaway success on all three of those criteria, and its a fantastic learning journey, and its a positive experience with lots of "aha" moments, and it contains lots of opportunities to connect and practice the theory of it all, even then, it still only leads to the potential to change performance.

People also think that once they have created a great program that hits all the criteria, they can then roll it out in any group, in any setting. But just because it was great once doesn't mean you can drop it into a new context and have it work just as well. Having a great program and design just leads to the potential for a great delivery.

These two fallacies are so associated with the “training” industry that KnowledgeWorkx doesn't even allow its staff to use the word. We have to replace it with “learning.” Learning programs. Learning journeys. Facilitating learning. We can’t wait for the day to come when “training” has been rehabilitated enough that we can use one word again instead of two in our day-to-day conversations.

The First Fallacy of Training: “Come to our event, we guarantee it will enhance your performance.”

This one of the hoaxes in the "training" world, in a lot of training companies try to make you believe that, "If you come to our event, we guarantee that it will lead to enhancement in performance." In Radio spots and TV ads, that’s the language that they use.

That’s simply not true! The best of the best of learning journeys only lead to potential. The real question is, “What are you going to do to take that potential and turn it to performance?”

And that's one of the main sticking points of the “Training” industry, because in order to turn potential into performance, you have to handhold the trainee very shortly after the event so that the trainee starts implementing what he or she learned.

Coaching is one mechanism for this kind of post-training support, but there are many others; accountability mechanisms; build it into KPIs; build it into the personal development plan, which then affects performance. Each of these mechanisms eventually turn potential into performance. And they all important mechanisms to make sure that a learning journey is not lost.

The Second Fallacy of Training: “We’ve designed a successful program. We can roll it out anywhere.”

A lot of companies spend a lot of resources to design learning journeys where the individual benefits, the group that they belong to benefits; the requisite skills and competencies are developed. They think, “Great! We’ve designed this great program! Now we can roll it out in any group, in any setting!”

We believe that’s a hoax too, because ultimately, learning is done in the context of your industry; of geographical location; of political and demographic reality. It’s done in the context of culture, whether that’s a monoculture or a group of multiple cultures interacting with each other.

Because of the importance of context in actually delivering a brilliantly designed program, using the principles of intercultural intelligence as we design your learning journey is extremely important to us. Yes, we design programs that are individually beneficial and beneficial for the group or team you belong to. Yes we design programs that that truly develops skills and competencies. But we do that within your context, and we do it in an inter-culturally intelligent way. That, we believe, makes all the difference in this increasingly complex, multicultural world.

Learning takes place in context and leads to potential, which has to be nurtured to impact performance.

We moved from management consulting into learning, and from learning full circle back into management consulting. It's a whole package, because strategy can't stand without outside support.

The massive gap we found in our part of the world was in the implementation of strategic principles. At some point, the cycle will continue and the biggest need will be having a good strategy to begin with. But right now, the ability of organizations to execute in intercultural situations is way behind their ability to develop strategy. In a perfect world, strategy always takes into account the ability to execute and there is never a conflict between the two. In the real world, only constant vigilance can keep the two connected.

To begin your culture learning journey, Contact us or get our mini-ebook: Inter-Cultural Intelligence: from surviving to thriving in the global space.


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