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  • Writer's pictureIan Gibbs

3 Ways To Improve Attitudes to Training

I have 9 year-old twins. They are definitely not identical.

One is introvert, the other extrovert.

One likes chocolate and broccoli, the other doesn’t.

One suffers from insomnia, the other could win a gold medal for sleeping if it were an Olympic sport.

But they both have one thing in common: when they are in a negative frame of mind, there is no communicating with them. Especially when trying to teach them something.

For example, one likes maths. The other, frustrated with her sibling’s success, decided she was no good at it, and so developed a negative attitude to all things numerical. She avoided the subject and resisted*.

It’s a universal rule that, from the cradle to the grave, we are slow to learn things we have a negative attitude to, whether it’s German, Kanban or Health & Safety Procedures.

I’m sure there are some subjects you prefer to stay away from.

This is especially important if you are involved in training your people.

If any of the attendees has negative feelings towards a training event, even before it begins, they’re not going to get the full benefit from it - or any benefit, are they?

The list of factors that influence attendees’ feelings towards a training session, from the title to the trainer’s accent, is almost endless. But the next time you run a training day, here are three questions I’d like you to consider that can help get more people on board.

1: How much influence do the attendees have in planning training sessions?

Most of us don’t like being told what to do. We prefer to have a choice. We like to have a say in the matter. This could be simply deciding whether to attend or not (compulsory trainings are seldom popular) all the way to deciding the content, duration, format and even trainer(s). It’s worth taking a step back and asking how much say do the attendees have over their next training event. How could this be increased?

2: How much recognition does the company give attendees for learning the content?

We all like getting recognition. Rarely do we get too many pats on the back. If training is important, what recognition do attendees receive afterwards? A genuine ‘congratulations’ from the Director? An article (with photo) on the company’s social media platforms? Or is the time and effort put into a training day immediately ignored? Does anyone follow up on what difference the training made three months afterwards or is it conveniently forgotten? And if so, what was the point of it in the first place?

3: How well does the training fit with company culture?

Does the Company Culture value training? Or is it a joke, an embarrassment or just another thing to complain about? Is your culture a learning culture with a growth mindset and a positive attitude to collaboration? Or is it a culture of competition, a fixed mindset where weaknesses are hidden and training is seen as a punishment for incompetence? How can your Company Culture be adjusted to make people feel more positivity to training days and pleased to being involved?

The world is a changing place. To keep up, your people need to change with it. But this is going to be slow if they have negative feelings towards being changed.

By including them more in organising training events, by giving recognition for the effort they put in and cultivating a culture of learning, you might find people start to value training events more and get more out of them.

And that’s a good thing, isn’t it?

* Thankfully, we found a way round my daughter's attitude and now her progress has much improved.

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