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Sunday, November 14, 2010

How close is the result owner to the trainer ?

A few thoughts on different scenarios in training management and organization…

Simple, ideal case: Results owner = Trainer

When the trainer is directly the person who is responsible for the results expected out of training, it is the best possible scenario. The trainer knows exactly what skills are required of the trainee by the time the training is completed. So the training is squarely addressed towards transferring the skills to the trainee.

Example : This example is rather awkward but absolutely effective. Think of a parent trying to toilet-train a baby. The outcomes are clearly defined. Trainer knows precisely what skills are to be transferred to the trainee. Trainer is also the person who directly owns the results. If the training is not effective, the trainer is going to have a lot of cleanup to do ;-)

A slightly more complex case: Results owner is one layer away from trainer.

In this case, the results owner sends the trainee to a trainer and explains the expectations to the trainer. The trainer is tasked with transferring the required skills to the trainee, but is not directly impacted if the training is ineffective.

Example: A dog owner who takes his pet to a professional trainer for obedience training. The expectations are directly conveyed by the owner to the trainer. But if the training fails, the pain is for the owner and not for the trainer.

As complexity increases: Results owner is several layers away from trainer.

Example: A field manager sends his report (say a field engineer) for an internal training course within the same company. The trainer has developed the curriculum based on what the product design team told him. The field manager thinks the trainee is going to be fully competent to address field issues after the training. The trainee has some idea of what skills the training is going to offer, but not a very precise idea. The trainer has some idea what skills will help the trainee in his job after he completes the training. The training need from the field is not squarely addressed. This scenario is common as the organization’s size increases. To make the training very relevant and effective, the trainer, the product design group, the potential trainee, the trainee’s manager should all be completely aligned.

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