No Seat for Training at the Business Table Until...

Patrick Malone

Recently Glenn Pasch attempted to make a case for Training to be invited to the Executive table in business organizations in his article "Why is it That Training Never Gets a Seat at the Table." Unfortunately Glenn cited these 5 GREAT (Glenn’s word) reasons that Training belongs:

  1. Training Keeps Employees Focused. I disagree. Good management, supervision, communication and common goals keep employees focused.
  2. Training Creates Open Dialogue. I disagree. Open dialogue is a direct consequence of trust. You cannot train trust, it is earned over time.
  3. Training helps the whole team improve. I disagree. This concept implies that poor performers raise their games up, outstanding performers dial their game down and average performers maintain the status quo. The consequence is mediocrity and businesses who buy into mediocrity will not be around long.
  4. Training will cause costs to be streamlined. I disagree. This is only valid if the employees were assigned to roles and responsibilities above their competency level and if that is the case, the problem is poor management.
  5. Training will improve processes. I disagree. If the current process is flawed, training will help employees produce more flawed products or services at a fastest rate.

The reason Training doesn’t have a seat at the adult table of business is two-fold.

First there is a huge difference between training and education that our industry has never really gotten its arms around. So we do education, call it training and wonder why there is little or no difference in employee performance.

Understanding the physics involved when a golf club strikes a golf ball will not improve your score. Watching a video of Jack Nicklaus’ swing will not improve your golf score. Playing Tiger Woods golf game on your computer will not improve your golf score. Only one thing will help you improve your golf score—lots of practice with an expert coach on real grass with real balls and clubs. That’s training and all the rest is education.

The second reason Training is relegated to the children’s table is return-on-investment (ROI). Business runs on metrics and until Training starts measuring their business results they will never be invited to the big table. And don’t get me started with the concept of "soft" skills. They are only called "soft" because they are hard to measure but not impossible to measure. When training professionals start delivering solid, sustainable ROI, they will receive equal treatment with operations, finance, sales and marketing.

Until then, quit whining and get to work.