Why Your Training Sessions Didn’t Work – Part 2

Quick Recap from last week: 90% of the time one day learning workshops are a waste of time and money. Sure they can be fun, but how much do you really retain even just a few days later?

There’s three common culprits behind their ineffectiveness:

  1. The ‘why are we here?’ factor
  2. The ‘cool idea, but it’ll never work here’ factor, and
  3. The ‘I know enough to be dangerous’ factor.

This week we’re unpacking and solving number 2.

The ‘Cool Idea, But It’ll Never Work Here’ Factor

Out of all the factors that undermine adopting new practice – the ‘lack of the opportunity to try’ is the most common culprit.

It’s the gap between ‘knowing’ and ‘doing’, and it’s the key reason your money on training and workshops is going down the drain.

In practice it normally looks something like this:

⚠️Usual Trigger: “For this new project, we’re going to send you on some training so you can make sure we’re following best practice”..


🚩First Red Flag: “Wow it’s going to cost $5.5k and take you offline for a week? Is there a lower level course? – 3 days at $3.5k?. Ok, let’s do that one”


🚩Second Red Flag: “I know you’ve got your course next week, but this has just come up. I’ll need you to be accessible through it so we can sort this out.”


🚩Third Red Flag: “Ok, now you’re back on deck, I need you to quickly get this briefing sorted, the operating report done, and go chat to the delivery teams”.

…and then nothing changes.

There’s a reason why all Australian states require at least 50 hours of supervised driving before you can even go for your driving test.

To truly adopt something new, you need to practice it. Then practice it again. Then maybe hit a curb. Then practice is again.

The Counter Strategy: Create Work That Necessitates The New Skills

The counter strategy to this is simple: create work based on the new skill sets directly post the workshops.

If you don’t know what that looks like, then co-design the work with them so they get a chance to apply those learnings in both work-design and work-doing.

Either way, get them on the new tools ASAP.

It’s crucial that everyone in your team(s) knows that it’s expected that theoretical learning becomes practical learning as part of their day to day work practices.

…The danger here is that armed with their new knowledge, they steer your work plan off a cliff. We’ll cover that one next week.