Customized Training: Quality Over Quantity of Toys

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    (By the way, I know some trainers use toys in icebreakers and throughout their training, but I’m not going to address that here. Maybe later.)

    Some trainers and some employers expect these toys: stacks of pre-packaged company-tested programs. Other trainers and employers expect a personalized, yet professional assessment and work experience, which may or may not include toys. It doesn’t matter how they receive it. You probably know where I stand.

    However, you have me asking, “What is the trainer good for? Telling the employer what program he needs” Or, is he or she using the well-known programs (the toys) to impress the employer as a way of gaining entry to the company?

    That trainer still has the nerve to call it “customized training.” Here’s where we part ways. I remember receiving correspondence from a company planning a convention that wanted me to put together an entire day of various sessions centered around the topic of return on investment. That’s great! Can do topic! Exotic locale. Luxury hotel and airfare on them.

    Here’s the problem for the “Cave Man:” the planning company wanted me there in two weeks. In the letter, it said literally to “pull my training off the shelf.” Since I customize or become terribly creative at times like this I don’t keep much on the shelf, I did a lot of pacing and wondering–for a few minutes–if I should find some off-the-shelf programs.

    That exercise lasted just a few minutes. I’m a customized training kind of guy.

    That is not to say, others that who use these “toys” don’t have success. I’m sure they have some measure of success or they wouldn’t make a living or be recommended by others. I live outside the “cave.” I see change everywhere. The big change is happening everywhere and in every industry. People are changing, too. Change can mean success–often super success; however, some things never change. Like trust. Like understanding from the company’s point of view. Like becoming accepted as one of them. It takes patience, but it’s worth it.

    Like the coaches I talked about in the last two articles, as I establish a relationship and trust with the company I discover what it needs. I become accepted; there is hope and optimism. A morale boost. Good things. I concentrate with a positive crew by my side anxious to achieve the same goal: a positive return on the investment–the company way.

    Had the overseas company given me more than a couple of weeks and a contact to give me more information, I would have loved to have accepted its offer. I could have my “dynamic” (he blushes) self-given my audience the training it deserved on my terms. It was the only way. My way.

    I know this story could have had a better ending, but sometimes we are fixed on how and why we do things. We do what works for us. We defend it to the death as the right thing to do. But this is commentary. As the “great Forrest Gump” would have said, “Life is a box of chocolates. You don’t know what ya git but ya always like the same one.” Or… “Custom is as custom does.” And, I’m not even from the South. Well, Southern California, but that doesn’t count.

    forrest_gump_1994_7This blog came about because I joined with a trainer on LinkedIn and upon looking at his credentials, I noticed that he listed all the pre-packaged training that he used as well as the training he received to allow him to deliver it. So, that’s a different kind of trainer. By listing his number of packages, he was quite impressive–a good selling point. I always hated selling. Isn’t that ironic? I depended on word-of-mouth recommendations, my website, and my commentary to sell my training. Even later as a speech coach.

    Then, I worked most often with companies (not corporate giants that have in-house staff to do what I do) that generally wanted their company name and senior management kept secret. With a few exceptions, for example, when an executive came to me personally and wanted to improve on his own. If you happen to look at my webpage you will not see the Fortune 500 companies or other privately owned well-known companies, or non-profits where I assisted high-level executives with their speeches or assisted in training efforts. By then it was a habit I think.

    Most training organizations or individuals want a list of companies to show employers as a demonstration of credibility. The companies I worked with, however, didn’t want anyone to know that the “big guys” had a professional speech coach giving them pointers on most of their speeches.

    So, what do you do when you have a confidential client list? You give a fair amount of free time to the client first to see if there is a fit…until the client sees value in your work and wants to draw up a contract. Risky, I know, but my earlier life as an actor was even riskier so what the heck.

    As always, an acknowledgment to all, please don’t force yourself on a company as the only way to do things. As you see here, I do try to point out the differences. I welcome guest writers anytime. Keep it generic so you talk about all others like you and not just your company (you don’t have to name names) and your name and link will appear. All we ask is that you link back to us.

    A disclaimer. This commentary is mine and mine alone, and the opinion expressed here is not influenced by The Free Management Library in any way.

    As the Host of the Blog site, I do get to ask that you take a look at my new blog which focuses on other topics than training. My training/speech blog is still out there, but I’m letting it die in cyberspace. My best-selling e-book, The Cave Man Guide to Training and Development is out. I need to tell you that I know Cave Man is not spelled that way and that is on purpose. The Cave is where we work, play, and live. Read the book and you’ll get it. I hope to have two more followings soon. I also have a futuristic e-novel, Harry’s Reality, a look at what happens when society gives up control of the mismanaged dying planet to an evolving artificial intelligence.

    Happy training.

    For more resources about training, see the Training library.