At the start of each calendar year, the training world is a bit slower In Australia. People are on holidays, and those businesses still functioning are either working too hard to train people, or have too many people on leave to train those that are there. It is a perfect time to develop new courses, review the current ones and discard those that are no longer relevant. This year preceeded like any other; I developed two great new workshops on creating time and mid-level planning and I reviewed the courses currently on offer. Training attendance had been good in 2011 and although I knew that training would be a bit slower at the start of 2012 (training is one of the first things taken away when business confidence is down), things appeared good.
My mistake was that I failed to look more closely at two of the courses that I offer and how relevant they are to current business. These courses had been quite popular only 3 years ago, but had gone out of favour in the last 12 months. They had been marketed the same as the other courses, on offer the same as the others with similar incentives for buying, but they were not being pursued.
The most frustrating thing about making a mistake in the leadership and team development field is that you read about this all the time in business management texts, teach others the key principles, yet occasionally you can forget to apply the lessons to yourself and your business. I had become the proverbial lobster in the pot – the environment for my courses had been taken from cold to a simmer and I didn’t notice; it was only once it was boiling that I realised and it was too late.
Once I started to realise my mistake, I started to tell myself all sorts of little lies to justify the mistake: ‘it is just an aberation for this year’, ‘I haven’t marketed the course enough’ and ‘they should know better, this is a great course’. What I should have realised was the course was outdated, the content hadn’t moved with the current market requirements and I hadn’t adjusted the offering to meet requirements. For me, I found this to be a particularly frustrating lesson to learn. I took the step of discussing this with a couple of valued clients and they confirmed my suspicions; the course was no longer needed by the level of employees the course was pitched at – they had moved on. I hadn’t. Thankfully, this lack of scanning the current environment has only applied to two courses and not the entire business. Phew! But it so easily could have.
Consider your business and your business practices. Are there products or processes that haven’t been purchased or used for a while? Are there systems that have moved on, yet you are clinging to the old operating procedure or process? Will you ingore them like I did at the start of the year, or have you realised that they are outdated but haven’t yet taken the step to do something about it? Will you remain the proverbial lobster in the boiling pot, or will you adapt to the change and do what is required?
P.S Look out for two fantastic new updated courses on the program schedule in about 1 week. After several weeks of work to get them right, we are almost ready to show them off!