Training can be wasteful and worthless for you and your employees. Training takes time. Costs money. Takes key people out of the job for a period of time. If you wanted to list out the reasons not to do training you could produce a nice-sized list even longer than this one.
Effective training involves two variables every time:
Without those two variables, training can be a waste. The two variables are in order of importance as well. Consider the changes in your own life - the important lessons that have stuck with you to this day. What is consistent with each of them? Likely, self-discipline and reinforcement were involved in all scenarios.
Without self-discipline our behaviors do not want to change. As human beings we have the distinct ability to say “no” or “yes” to things our bodies/minds want. Breaking habits developed over time are not easy. Our bodies want to continue doing what they’ve been doing. Self-discipline is the opposite force that must be larger than the habit. Over time, the need to exert self-discipline lessens as the new behaviors firmly take the place of the old behaviors. Self-discipline is a limited supply resource in that we only have so much of to dole out.
Reinforcement is the other critical piece of the equation for effective training. This is the outside influence or accountability that keeps us, or our employees, on the new behavior path.
Consider New Year’s resolutions as a great example of reinforcement. Andrea decides that after New Year’s Day she is going to go to the gym every day and give up soda. For the first week, she makes it happen. Then the following week she skips two days because “something came up”. Then in week three of the new year she only goes once because “things just got busy”. Then in week four all behaviors are back to “normal” for Andrea. There was no reinforcement to produce the new desired behaviors. The self-discipline alone ran out after one week, which can be typical. She lacked outside accountability to shore her up. Most of us need a person or outside force to keep us on track with new behaviors. The more ingrained the old behavior, the more reinforcement we will need to enforce the new behaviors.
On a go forward basis, once you know the new behaviors you wish to see from yourself and your employees, consider how much self-discipline will be necessary and what reinforcement you will be able to maintain to make them happen. Without those pieces you should reconsider your investment of time and resources.
Ask yourself this: “Do I have the self-discipline and reinforcement in place to sustain these changes I wish to see?”