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Monday, September 04, 2006

The Power of Follow-through

This is lovingly dedicated to my clients who have successfully harnessed the power of follow-through and are now enjoying the fruit of their training investment.

This is also a last ditch effort to encourage those who failed to strike while the iron is still hot, to change their ways... hehehe

Let me tell you this outright. I believe that training or any other similar interventions (i.e., teambuilding workshops) are doomed from the very beginning if management ( also read HRD) does not have any plan to follow-trough. It’s almost a complete waste of time. Save for one or two persons who are self-driven and are determined to make use of the knowledge they gain from the training, others are likely to shove their handouts to the shelves to gather dust together with the knowledge that they are supposed to apply at work.

Follow-through, this sounds like the most logical thing to do. All my clients agree when I talk about the need to follow-through on whatever is gained from training or team building activities. So much is invested in training in terms of time, money and effort that it would be such a waste not to see any return. When I talk about the dangers of not following through, some of my clients nod so hard, I thought they are having a seizure (of course I’m just trying to be funny! :D) What’s really funny however, is when I ask them if they have followed-through after the training, they give me that silly grin and say, they wish to do it soon but they are just too busy at the moment. Breaks my heart every time!

What are you missing if you fail to follow-through?

In an ideal world, a manager has a concrete idea about why he is sending his employee to training. He has clear idea about what particular part of the person’s performance is being addressed and has a clear idea about what kind of behavior will be manifested after the training. The manager contracts a training provider or sends people to public seminars but not without a clear idea about what the training contains and determining if the training addresses the needs. The manager solicit information from the training provider on how to follow-through so that the gains are reinforced (I voluntarily offer this information in my terminal reports). After the training, the manager discusses the behaviors that he expects his employees to manifest indicating that he knows what was imparted in the training and that he is keen in seeing to it that the employees manifest the ideal behavior. The manager links the competencies addressed by the training and make it part of the person’s performance indicators. The Manager coaches until the competency is consistently manifested. If the manager is right in linking the competency to successful performance of duty, this should reflect on the person’s productivity and quality of work. If this is done on a corporate level, think of how well this will help the company.

The Dangers of no follow-through
Not following through sends a wrong message, a very, very wrong message in deed. By not following through, you are in effect telling your employees that you are not very serious about addressing performance issues and that employees should not take their training seriously as well. When there is no direct linkage between what the employees hear or see in training and what their superiors require from them, they become cynical about the training and eventually become cynical about the need to attend any training as well.

What are the requirements of follow through?
Let me make it easy for you to understand:

  • Know the content of the training program (sit in the training and participate if necessary) – This will give you a full appreciation of what the employee needs to demonstrate after the training. It will also help you support the employee.
  • Require post-training report – Let the training provider that you require a report that summarizes the content of the program (if you did not attend it) the observation of the training facilitator and her recommendation about how to follow-through.
  • Follow through – need I say more?

Reap the fruit of your labor

It is easy to ignore advice like these but, people do it to the detriment of the company that they serve. I hope that you my readers take my recommendation and harness the power of follow-through.

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