Training isn’t the answer!

What was the question?

I was recently invited to talk to a brilliant organisation about their training needs. I went in thinking that I might come away with some thoughts on workshops I could facilitate for them to help them develop their people – a reasonable assumption as a training provider, you might say.

Anyway I adopted my usual stance, and explored their organisation with them to help me understand who the key people are, what the organisation does and how it does it. (I use Big Picture for this; it helps me draw out great information. Take a look at I uncovered tonnes of great information about their organisation, found out about their key challenges, and some opportunities for improvement fell out of the discussion too.

However, what didn’t fall out of the conversation was any clear need for training – exit stage left for Sticky Thinker? No! I hung around a while longer – in fact what this organisation needed was some thinking time to establish their business objectives. We concluded that there was not much point in training folk if you hadn’t first determined what you wanted them to deliver for you and assessed if they had the capability or the desire to do it!

The drive home gave me time to reflect…….

  • One of the things that struck me about my conversation with this organisation was just how much value they got from sitting in a room, removing all distractions and having someone give them their undivided attention for more than an hour. They did some great thinking and found some clarity that had eluded them until that point. (It’s not the first time this has happened, it’s a trend, and you’ve probably gathered that we take thinking fairly seriously given the name of our business!)
  • How many organisations fail to spend time doing quality thinking? And what’s the cost to the organisation and the impact on their people. How much more engaged could employees be if their employers immersed them in activities that encouraged them to think and not just take action? Not all the time, obviously, but when it matters.
  • Some organisations must already be doing thinking brilliantly, and I’ve seen a recent example in a contact centre environment where designated areas have been created for their teams to think and collaborate. Google are always cited as being the exemplars in this, but there must be others to learn from?
  • What if…… organisations everywhere had a policy that encouraged their people to take 14 minutes every day to engage in some high quality crystal clear thinking, either alone, if that’s their preference, or with others, if that works for them. That’s just 1% of the day dedicated to thinking; what more could they achieve?

If you happen to be reading this, I’d love to hear about you experiences and thoughts on thinking.