The best business improvement training programs leave participants with a continuing ability to surface the reality in their organizations and painstakingly work out detailed solutions that satisfactorily answer all the “How” questions.
Here are some ways to improve the effectiveness of your time with executive learning participants.
1. Make Your D.A.R.E. Explicit
D.A.R.E. stands for “Detail And Reality Extraction”. Make it clear to participants that every training program is business improvement training, and that business improvement is about increasing the “signal-to-noise” ratio in all business competencies – about finding the reality and creating detailed action plans for which there can be accountability. This is the heart of execution, and a culture of execution must be at the heart of business improvement effort.
2. Make it Project-Based
Many learning organizations have fallen into the bad habit of putting their leaders and staff through generic training programs that are not connected to business outcomes. That is a wasteful and energy-draining mistake.
3. Emphasize Tools
By tools, I mean anything from process improvement programs like Six Sigma, TOC, and others, to workshops on specific capabilities like software applications and programs that are used within your business, and even skills training programs targeted at the specific needs of your business (i.e. Workshop on “Selling to National Accounts”).
4. Use Visual Aids
Use visual aids to help explain or clarify complex concepts and ideas and to show the relationships between ideas. Research shows that humans process visual information many times faster than text. Funny pictures on a PowerPoint slide for instance can liven up your presentation while also making your point.
5. Weave Communications Skills Improvement into Curriculum Design
An organizational culture that emphasizes deep dialogue is the greatest pre-requisite to achieving significant business improvement. By building a continuous emphasis on communication in all your training programs, you will create a powerful embedded competitive advantage.
6. Monitor The Environment
Environmental factors play a significant role in the pace and flow of communication during learning situations. Make sure that the main elements of the physical environment support learning. Within your constraints, you can adjust seating arrangements or develop “themed” programs with the relevant visual props.
7. Incorporate Social Learning and Interactivity
One of the well established principles of learning acceleration is that social interaction greatly improves mastery and retention of new knowledge. Breaking up your class into small groups for brainstorming, analyzing or judging ideas is a great way to secure greater gains from group interaction.
Business Improvement Training- A final word
In my opinion, all corporate training should be business improvement training. No organization should spend the resources on a workshop, seminar or facilitation session without the effort being explicitly tied to the specific outcomes of the company. Use the principles above to see how you can grow revenues and profits through effective executive learning programs.