Managers often self-diagnose a problem and go looking for the quickest remedy, often without considering all of the symptoms first. The question should be ‘what are the behaviours that I need to address and change?’, not ‘What course will fix the problem?’ With the right diagnosis, the right prognosis and remedy can be provided.
Finding the right training solution to address a problem is the same as seeking a specialist to diagnose and treat an illness. A specialist training organisation can ask the right questions and conduct the right tests to identify the root cause of a problem in your business, not just a symptom.
I was asked recently to provide a quote for a 2-day leadership course. While part of me was more than happy to provide a proposal for two days of training, the most obvious question hadn’t been addressed – ‘What leadership behaviours are the Supervisors not currently doing to the required level?’ Was it implementing strategy, communicating to team members or effective delegation? Was it time management, not meeting targets or having difficult conversations? After completing our diagnostic tool, we agreed that the main problem was the cohesion between supervisors and the differing values and decisions that were being applied to the same workforce, causing confusion and frustration. Without this diagnosis, much of a two-day training course would have been wasted addressing a problem that wasn’t there, rather than focusing on the core issue.
So how do we avoid this situation? There are 5 steps to avoid self-diagnosis and potential waste of training funds.
1. Focus on the behaviour that you want to improve rather than the remedy.
Put into words what you actually want your people to be able to do and consider how you will recognize this change. Doe you want your people to ‘be better at communicating’ or do you want them to ‘provide constructive feedback to their staff and superiors on a weekly basis’. If you can’t describe the behaviour that needs improving, refer to Pt. 2.
2. Get the right test, diagnostic or interview to advise you on what behaviour you want to improve.
Just like a good doctor, a good facilitator or training organisation will take the time to diagnose the problem you face. Would a GP prescribe medication before asking a question or taking your temperature / blood pressure etc? If the proposed provider hasn’t asked questions and moves straight to the solution, the chances of success are less likely.
3. Ensure the training provider is also focused on the required behaviours improvement.
Good training organisations will assess the skill level of your staff before training takes place and be able to measure improvement once it is completed. Whether this is an interview, 360 degree feedback tool or online assessment, the training organisation should discuss how they will demonstrate improvement.
4. When selecting a training provider, go to the right specialist.
A GP is a generalist who will refer to a specialist when your problem is specific. Unfortunately, training organisations rarely refer to others when they are out of their depth. Just because you have used a training organisation for sales training does not mean that they will also be good at project management or leadership. Also check their credentials – ask for references, testimonials and look for recommendations on LinkedIn. If other businesses haven’t trusted their business health with the provider, why should you?
5. Make sure you feel good at the end of the process.
If this was a medical problem you would know when you felt better – it would be when the symptoms stopped. Make sure you apply the same for your business. Has the behaviour that was being addressed improved? If not, what needs to change? Have you received a return on investment?
‘There is no need for a common cold to turn into business pneumonia because of lack of attention or misdiagnosis of a problem. Equally, there is no need for ongoing business health problems because of a poorly prescribed training initiative. Take the time to understand what you need and research your provider – the health of your business may depend on it.
Do you need help diagnosing the health of your business? Do you know the strengths and areas of development for your staff? Call Michael on 0409 627 270 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for an obligation free business health check.