So much of what separates an effective training program from an ineffective one can be traced back to the mindset of the training professional that was responsible for creating it. Unless you’ve been a training manager or a specialist, it’s difficult to truly understand the creative effort and thoughtful decisions that go into developing training. Finding the right way to present topics or concepts normally takes an extensive amount of time to do; so, your time needs to be focused on value added activities, guided by the right mindset.
When you’re starting a training course or program from scratch, the first place to begin is with the stakeholders. The first mindset you need to adopt is, “Stakeholders rarely know exactly what they want a training course to look like, but they know it when they see it”. In other words, at the beginning of the project, be prepared to bear the responsibility for deciding what the majority of the training content will be. That first meeting with the stakeholders will be a conversation that oscillates between some specific details and vague suggestions for what the course will contain. It will be your job before each of the next stakeholder meetings to fill in the gaps and give their suggestions a format that resembles a training course. Don’t be afraid to add your own thoughts to the content, because even the imperfect ideas you suggest will help push the project forward. I’ve presented ideas before that stakeholders didn’t like and it helped them paint a better picture for me of what they wanted to see instead.
“The first mindset you need to adopt is, “Stakeholders rarely know exactly what they want a training course to look like, but they know it when they see it”
The next mindset involves selling, “Everything you present to someone is a selling opportunity”.That principle took me several years to fully adopt because it wasn’t clear to me that anyone needed to be sold on anything once the training was requested, and I didn’t know I had anything to sell in the first place. Oddly enough, the thing you’re selling to the stakeholder isn’t the training product; it’s the concept of “If you meet with me, it will be a productive and valuable use of your time”. If your stakeholders believe that, then you’ll get what you need from them, when you need it. The way you get them to believe that is by making sure that all the materials you present them are polished and professional. In my experience, the amount of engagement you will receive from a stakeholder is directly proportional to how much effort stakeholders can see you put into your training materials. Applying this mindset will set the tone for all your later projects and make stakeholders less hesitant to commit time towards training projects in the future.
The last mindset is associated with inclusiveness, “I will find a way to make people in my company shine through my content”. If you have a trainer that will be teaching your course that’s an excellent storyteller, incorporate storytelling examples into the training. If you hear a stakeholder use a specific phrase to explain a concept, use that phrase. Find as many opportunities as you can to highlight the contributions of stakeholders and trainers. How much more likely will someone else be invested in the success of your training if they can see themselves in it?
Collectively, this mindset is your winning formula.