At the beginning of any measure there is always a certain pain point – Department X isn’t efficient. Our team has problems with personal customer support. – and soon you hear “We need a training!”. Therefore training suppliers get instructed, topics get approved and dates get confirmed. Hardly anyone is asking: Is it really the training we need? What do we de facto need to reach our goals? A possible answer with our mountain impulse.
We want to climb the mountain! – Prior training or not?
Think about a really challenging mountain top you want to climb. If the expedition shall be successful, it will be good to thouroughly plan the project at first and start afterwards. Only pretty inexperienced and therewith ineffective climbers will simply start running while risking to miss the top or to reach an undesired one.
However, with the following plan you will succeed:
Step 1 – The goal
In the end, if you want to evaluate if you successfully reached the right mountain top you’ll need to thoroughly plan it first. You need to know where exactly the top is located, how high it is and when you plan to reach it.
Step 2 – The route
So having defined your desired mountain top you plan the perfect route to go and the perfect team to do the ascent. Further you will define some marks on the way making sure you that you stay on the right track.
Step 3 – The approach
Next thing is the decision on the approach you’ll choose. Which technique will you use? Who needs to support whom in order that everyone reaches the top?
Step 4 – Behaviour of the climbers
Linked to your approach you define concrete actions to be done to guarantee and support a safe ascent – on the one hand from the participants themselves, on the other hand from you, the mountain guide and other involved persons.
Step 5 – Tools & tips
Depending on the needed behaviour you check if your team menbers know what they need to know to act like desired or if there is anything you can provide in addition (in terms of knowledge, skills, attitude) to support them.
Step 6 – The measure
Only now you can now if you need a training to master step one to five or if it is something else like a new equipment, for instance. If it really is a training, the last thoughts before you start are directed at the training camp itself and ways to design it for a maximum of positive learning experience and participants’ satisfaction.
Using the mountain metaphor in your organisation
For anyone dealing with learning & development, reading the metaphor above it will have been easy to think about the parallels to internal training design. It’s deduced from the New World Model of the Kirkpatrick approach which is the most compelling model for efficient design and evaluation of development measures on the market. With practical tools and recommended actions, the model meets any of the five steps above and guides HR managers, trainers and L&D consultants from the business need – which always is the beginning – to efficient, reasonable design and following evaluation of development measures.
If you have current programs and measures providing visible and measurable results contributing to the desired company goals you may lean back without worries. However, if you feel like there still is available potential in the performance of your development measures or if you even are unsatisfied with your current situation you might want to throw a glance at the mountain and Kirkpatrick’s approach.
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