TRAINING ROI IS ONE OF THE MOST prominent barriers to training. A lot of the training managers or L&D experts I have supported with over the past 10 years are constantly looking for new way of linking the training with business outcomes. They confess that getting buy-in from trainees is one of the problems for a poor ROI.
[quote float=”right”]”People feared electricity when it was invented, didn’t they?[/quote]Bill Gates, sums up the challenge by linking buy-in to change. “People always fear change,” said Gates. “People feared electricity when it was invented, didn’t they? People feared coal, they feared gas-powered engines…There will always be ignorance, and ignorance leads to fear. But with time, people will come to accept their silicon masters.” Of course, we’d much prefer if they accepted the change, or bought-into the change, a lot sooner than later.
And that’s where team leaders are vital to speeding up that acceptance. A team leader’s attitude towards the change plays an important role in the final training outcome and overall satisfaction. [quote float=”left”]A team leader’s attitude towards the change plays an important role in the final training outcome[/quote]A positive attitude of a team leader is conducive to the overall success of the annual training planning and implementation, while a negative attitude is counter-productive. Therefore, start with the team leader.
And that means understanding the challenges of the team leader. This involves empathy, true concern and open minded.
1. Empathy: Understanding differences and respect others’ world of view
Neale Donald Walsh is an American author who wrote “When everything changes, change everything”. Neale believes, all human actions are motivated at their deepest level by two emotions–fear or love. Fear wraps our bodies in clothing; love allows us to stand naked. Fear grasps; love lets go. Fear attacks; love amends. In order to create buy-in, you need to go to the next level of change – people’s feelings.
Consider befriending senior business leaders, especially those who are critical of accepting change. Do not judge or become offensive, rather try to ask the questions and uncover the needs. What are the reasons that are stopping them to be cooperative? When engaged in a conversation, ask yourself if you are communicating with authenticity. [quote float=”right”]When engaged in a conversation, ask yourself if you are communicating with authenticity.[/quote]This will make you understand what might be missing and allow you to make the necessary adjustments. You will see that your efforts pay off if you are persistently communicating with authenticity.
2. True concern: Taking concerns seriously
When you hear opposing voices and see negative reactions in others, it is better to step back and study the people and their behaviour. Why are they are showing concerns and becoming difficult to communicate with? Their perception will most likely be that you are trying to impose your interests at the expense of theirs. ‘Concern’ is an anxious feeling, and you cannot produce good results nor have a constructive conversation if your audience is still in the state of a negative mindset. In order to manage the change, you need to set an environment that you can build trust and transform the emotion to a positive position. You have to indicate that the other person’s concerns are important to you, and that you wish to work to protect not just your interests but theirs too.
3. Open minded: Allow for a different perspective
When Barbara Beskind was almost 90 years of age, she watched David Kelley, the founder of IDEO, talk about how important it was to have diverse staff on a design team. In the interview, aired by American TV program ‘60 Minutes’ David emphasised how it was important to bring different perspectives to a project. It was this message that attracted Beskind to approach IDEO – remembering that she was almost in her 90s! [quote float=”left”]It was this message that attracted Beskind to approach IDEO – remembering that she was almost in her 90s![/quote]
Beskind was hired by the associate partner at IDEO, Gretchen Addi. In Sillicon Valley’s youth-obsessed culture, 40-year olds get plastic surgery to fit in. But Beskind made her positive influence with the much younger generation. Her co-workers today think that her energy is contagious and inspiring. It really caused the design team to reflect and think differently.
As HR professionals, as you become frustrated that new training and development initiatives are not being rolled out with enthusiasm, challenge your own perspective firest. If you already know some business leaders will be difficult to accept the changes, then why not include them as early of the stages as possible and be inspired by their point of view. Embrace the differences, do not ignore it or fight it.