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From Checklist to Catalyst: Convert Employee Training into Strategic Growth

Imagine you're at a mechanic’s shop for a routine oil change. You drop off your car, wait, and then drive away, detached from the process that keeps your vehicle running smoothly. Unfortunately, I see companies take this same approach toward training and development. Many view training as a necessary but passive process: a box to be checked. But what if we start seeing training not just as an obligatory expense but as a crucial investment in the growth and development of our most valuable resource…our people!?

In the realm of professional development, training often gets relegated to the status of a mundane task - necessary, but not exciting. Much like routine car maintenance, companies frequently treat training sessions as something to 'get done' with minimal involvement or engagement. This outlook not only diminishes the value of the training but also overlooks its potential to drive significant change and growth within an organization.

The transformation in the perception of training begins at the top. When leaders view training as a vital part of their strategy, rather than a line item on a budget, the entire organization's attitude shifts. Leaders must not only endorse but actively participate in these training sessions, embodying the concepts and practices being taught. Their involvement signifies the importance of continuous learning and sets a precedent for the rest of the team.

Reflect on your high school or college days – do you remember those students in the front row of a classroom, always engaged, always curious, raising their hand at every question asked? They didn't just passively absorb information; they immersed themselves in the learning process, contributing, questioning, and applying their knowledge. I love it when I have training participants who act in this manner and their actions transform a mundane training session into a powerful learning experience. When participants are actively involved – doing pre-work, engaging in discussions, applying learnings in real-time – the training transcends the boundaries of a session and becomes a part of their professional ethos. But not every employee will approach training in this manner, which is why it is so important that leadership lead by example. 


Leaders, be that highly engaged student in the front row and show your teams what good looks like!!!


I was recently on a sales call with the CEO, COO and VP of Sales for a staffing firm and the CEO asked me

“How will we know if the training is successful?” 

Here is my response.

“There is a direct correlation between the success of a training series and leadership involvement.

If leaders take a passive approach, step away from the process that is being taught to their team, and expect only the training facilitator to drive positive change within their organization it just won’t work. My most successful training engagements are ones in which leadership is highly involved. They do the prework assignments, hold their teams accountable, and work with them outside of training to drive the implementation of the concepts being taught. These leaders see training as an investment, not a cost.”

Viewing training as an investment reaps tangible rewards. Companies that embrace this perspective witness improvements in performance, higher levels of innovation, and accelerated business growth. I recently wrapped a series with an organization that attributed significant growth in Q1 to this training and I am not surprised. Their CEO, COO, and additional leaders were on every call, highly engaged, and challenged their team members to work day in and day out implementing the training concepts. 

Training, when approached with the right mindset and engagement, transcends its traditional boundaries. It becomes an investment in the human capital of an organization, an investment with compounding returns in the form of skilled, motivated, and innovative employees.

It's time to shift our perspective on training from a mere line item to a pivotal component of strategic growth. How does your organization approach training? Do you view training as an expense or an investment? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below and contact us to get started on the path to productivity and growth.


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