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How to Stop Worrying and Start Living

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Change Gears  
Weekly eZine                               Issue No.758 Dt:16-12-2018

From the Editor's Desk Quotes of the Week Spiritual Centre Story Time Inspirational Words Time to Smile New Initiatives by Seechange

From the Editor's Desk


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Listen to your body

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S. Prakash
CG Editor, See Change's CEO & Corporate Success Coach

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Why Training Fails

Why and when training doesn't work?

A university professor who wanted to learn Zen approached Nan-in, a Japanese master. Nan-in served him some tea. He continued pouring tea into the professor's cup even after the cup was full. Unable to restrain himself the professor said, "It is overfull. No more will go in!" Nan-in then responded, "Like this cup you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can you learn unless you first empty your cup?" This episode is just a precursor of what ails training initiatives in organisations.

Surveys report how organisations spend huge amounts on ineffective training. A USA Today survey estimated a training loss of 5.6 to 16.8 billion dollars. But what these surveys don't reveal is why there was such a colossal loss. How is it that organisations spend thousands of hours and dollars on training that doesn't work?

The main culprits!

Training doesn't work because:

- Trainers' lack sufficient training experience and background
- Subject matter experts create training
- Training objectives are not clearly outlined
- Lack of infrastructure to apply what is learnt

The culprit trainer

Training isn't a popular first career choice. Therefore, most trainers lack thorough knowledge about the subject. They have limited formal education in human resource development, training instructional design and adult learning theories. What they know is what they have picked up in the course of their job. That primarily deals with the 'how-to' of training. A recent research discovered that less than 8 percent of the trainers have formal education in training.

Adult theory and methodology is considered the mother of training and development. Only few trainers can boast of this acumen. The following points illustrate how training activities are related to adult learning principles.

Principle 1: Adults need to know why they should learn something. Employees are often detailed for training sessions. Such training rarely results in a complete learning experience. Most employees hardly contribute during the course of the training. Employees need to be 'thawed' before being sent for training sessions. They must understand the benefits of training and the disadvantages of being ignorant.

Principle 2: Adults need to be self-directed. Formal self-direction would involve a self-study course. The employee is free to attain knowledge when he feels the urge to learn something. Also employees can engage in individual or group activities. While the trainer defines the objectives, the employees can conduct them in their own fashion. Informal self-direction can be used when the trainer asks employees to work during the break so that they can leave class early.

Principle 3: Adults have a wide range of experiences that contribute to learning. Training for adults cannot strictly comprise a talk by the trainer. A training session would have to be highly interactive to be fruitful. Exchange of ideas and opinions adds new information.

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Principle 4: Adults are ready to learn when a situation calls for better performance. One simple exercise helped a trainer incorporate the first four principles of adult learning. While conducting a course on project management the trainer started by relating a story of trainees who were unable to perform well despite four weeks of training. He then asked the trainees to relate their experiences in project management. This was followed by an explanation of whether they thought training should focus on knowledge or skills. Rest assured the training session was a success. An adult learns best when he feels that the training is in his interest and when he attends the training voluntarily.

Principle 5: Adult orientation to learning should be task or problem centred. Adults are attracted to training only when they can see immediate applicability of training! This is why night adult schools are gaining popularity.

Principle 6: Adults need more intrinsic motivators. Trainees are awarded certificates on completing training programmes. But such extrinsic motivators are seldom effective. Intrinsic factors like personal benefits of new knowledge motivate adults. A smart trainer should emphasise training's value addition on individual growth and development.

Peter and Paulette can further throw the learning curve out of track!

Peter and Paul: The Peter Principle is often applied to management positions and states that every employee rises to his level of incompetence. For example, the most efficient sales person is made a sales manager despite not having requisite degrees and experience. The Paulette Principle is related to the Peter Principle. It states, "If you're the best at what you do, you can train others to do it." It also encourages people who are good at something to go ahead and teach it.

This is one reason why training designed by Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) fails to produce desired results. An SME leaves out basic information because he is far beyond the basics! He is so thorough in his subject that he includes every little nuance of it.

Leaving out the basics

A trainer was recently involved in re-designing a training topic that was originally done by a SME. He discovered the following flaws:

- Basic and introductory information about the topic were missing
- The SME had moved to the application and theory right at the start
- Some of the theories and models present were obscure
- References to these obscure models were found in dated periodicals
- Some topics had to be deleted as they were not in current practice

Going overboard!

An SME loves to flaunt his knowledge hence, he includes too much information! One SME was hired to design a course in athletic footwear technology. The courseware content had to describe the different types of construction methods that various athletic footwear manufacturers used. The SME recommended adding the history of each of the footwear manufacturers! He argued that trainees would have greater appreciation of a construction model if they knew about the manufacturer's history. However, he failed to convince the trainees.

Misplaced objectives

Objectives go haywire when the purpose of training is ill defined. Training objectives should use action verbs like list, define, and demonstrate instead of 'to understand' or 'to know'. An objective in a software-training manual stated: Be aware of the different configurations of the software. Anybody reading the manual would become aware of the configurations! That definitely wasn't the purpose of the training manual!

The objective redone with a training purpose would read: Configure software for various end-user requirements.

A round peg and a square hole!

Training failures often result from wrong testing. A five-day course was conducted to teach participants programming skills. The course culminated with a knowledge-based examination. Participants had to answer multiple choice and fill-in-the blanks questions. The pass percentage was surprisingly low. Reason? The participants were trained in a skill but it was their knowledge and not their skill levels that were tested.

When the trainer changed the knowledge-based examination to a performance-based one, the success rate shot up. While most trainees can practically apply their newly found skills at the workplace, very few can answer theoretical questions.

Trainers can safely accept that despite all their efforts there still might be some that are untrainable. But for the majority of trainables, training programmes should be sound. Training outcomes and objectives should be justified. Above all, training designs should support the purpose of training.





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Quotes of the Week

"He who loses money, loses much; He who loses a friend, loses much more; He who loses faith, loses all." - Eleanor Roosevelt

"Nothing will work unless you do." - Maya Angelou

"Laugh at yourself, but don't ever aim your doubt at yourself." - Alan Alda

"Slow and steady wins the race." - Aesop



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From the Editor's Desk Quotes of the Week Spiritual Centre Story Time Inspirational Words Time to Smile New Initiatives by Seechange
Spiritual Centre


“Remember, love begets love.”

(C) Shri. Kamlesh D. Patel - President, Shri Ram Chandra Mission - http://www.sahajmarg.org


From the Editor's Desk Quotes of the Week Spiritual Centre Story Time Inspirational Words Time to Smile New Initiatives by Seechange
Story Time -Big Picture

Strength from Adversity

A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared, he sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole.

Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no farther.Then the man decided to help the butterfly, so he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings.The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time.Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It was never able to fly.

What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were God's way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life.

If God allowed us to go through our life without any obstacles it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as what we could have been. And we could never fly.

From the Editor's Desk Quotes of the Week Spiritual Centre Story Time Inspirational Words Time to Smile New Initiatives by Seechange

Inspirational Words

"Discovery is seeing what everybody else has seen, and thinking what nobody else has thought." - Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

"You can tell the size of a man by the size of the thing that makes him mad." - Adlai E. Stevenson

"If you don't like something change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it." - Mary Engelbreit

"The way to develop self-confidence is to do the thing you fear." - William Jennings Bryan

"What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can't find them, make them." - George Bernard Shaw

"The key is in not spending time, but in investing it." - Stephen R. Covey

"Habits are cobwebs at first; cables at last." - Chinese Proverb


From the Editor's Desk Quotes of the Week Spiritual Centre Story Time Inspirational Words Time to Smile New Initiatives by Seechange
Time to Smile

Life is Like That

My Neighbor, A Tailor

My neighbor, a tailor, has a new job.

I asked him how much he enjoyed it.

"It's Sew-Sew."



From the Editor's Desk Quotes of the Week Spiritual Centre Story Time Inspirational Words Time to Smile New Initiatives by Seechange
New Initiatives by Seechange

The Round-the-Clock Non Stop Management Conclave

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From the Editor's Desk Quotes of the Week Spiritual Centre Story Time Inspirational Words Time to Smile New Initiatives by Seechange

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