Is Your Lean Training a Waste of Time?

Last week, my company had Jamie Flinchbaugh, from the Lean Learning Center,  in for some follow up on training his organization gave us back in November.  A point that Jamie makes during every session is about doing something with what we learned.  If we leave any training session and do nothing with it, then by definition it is waste, because we haven’t changed anything and we can do that without spending time in training.

This is something I have taken to heart for a few years now.  Anytime I go to training or learning session, I make it a point to learn something new that can help me in my work.  More importantly, I try to incorporate what I learned into my work or thinking where appropriate.

After applying this for so many years and listening to Jamie last week, I finally realized I had never expected the people I am teaching to do anything with what I have taught them.

There are two reasons why I haven’t done it. One is I have never told any class I have taught my expectations are they will take something from the class and apply it.  I need to be clear and explicit about expectations.

The second reason is I have never incorporated any time into the class for them to think about and develop an action plan on how to apply something that was taught.  If the expectations are to take something from the class and apply it, then I should make it easy for them to develop an action plan.  Giving them time in class allows them to think about it while it is fresh.  Plus, having a support group to talk to can help.  Also, I can be there to answer any questions they have.

I made changes last Friday with a training session I conducted.  I set the expectations and I allowed time to think about and develop action plans to apply what they learned.  My hypothesis is this will increase the number of  changed behaviors and actions after attending my training sessions.  Otherwise, it would have been a waste of their time.

Posted on April 13, 2011, in Development, Learning, My Continuous Improvement, Training and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Any training should be practical and easy to use, not just theory. And the trainees must understand how what they are suppose to be learning is going to improve their daily work. Our company gave all salaried associates training not long ago in PDCA thinking. The training wasn’t bad but its implementation seemed to included a lot of extra paperwork and meetings. Because of this, you could tell that the participants were simply enduring the class and had no intention of using the materials in their daily jobs. Being the open and honest person I am, when the trainer asked what we thought of the methods she was teaching, I simply spoke up and said something like, “What you are saying is good, but I can see most of us going back to our jobs and doing what we have been doing the same way because this is complicated.” I wasn’t trying to be negative, but I think I was accurate. I haven’t seen much use of the training by our salaried associates since the class.

  2. I love Stephen Covey and his teachings. I was so disappointed years ago when my employer spent a lot of money to put managers & staff through the training and then nothing changed. I couldn’t believe it! How could you be exposed to his stuff and not change SOMETHING.

    I think your change is a great idea. At least by starting with this, you open yourself up to new ways to convey the idea and tweak it up. Training classes come and go, but people will always remember the classes where they actually came out with something they applied.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: