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Trained your team but not getting expected results? Here’s why.

By Dennis Keay

After putting their people through various ‘registered training courses’, business leaders rightfully expect to see results. However, regardless of how good the training is, there’s often one or more missing pieces of the puzzle that prevent those results occurring. If that’s happening in your business, here are some of the common causes and what you can do about it.


  • Training is often ‘theoretical’ rather than experiential, so knowledge is gained, but experience isn’t. The training covers the ‘tools’ but not the ‘how’ to apply them.

    You can teach someone about what the gears, steering wheel and brakes do in a car, but that’s completely different from teaching them to drive. Knowing and doing are two different things.

  • The training isn’t in ‘context’. You need to know not only how to use the tools, but when and where to use them.

    You can teach someone how to change a flat tyre, but if you have a flat battery, knowing how to change a tyre isn’t going to help! 

  • Training is focused on training, not business outcomes!

    If you think about it, schools and training organisations are there to train. That’s their objective! (In fact, for some training organisations, their objective is solely to make money, regardless of the quality of the training, but that’s another story.) The training institution usually doesn’t know anything about your particular business nor care about your specific results. They consider their job done when the training box is ticked.

  • There are significant gaps between what is taught and what your business actually needs. That implies that a training-needs-analysis has missed the mark somewhat. This tends to happen when a proper needs analysis hasn’t been conducted and there’s false assumption that the training will simply lead to results. Sometimes the training is entered into because the sales-person was convincing or there was a monetary incentive (e.g. government support) provided as an apparent offer too good to refuse. This can be false economy!

  • The student’s knowledge and experience with what they’ve learned is fine, but they aren’t given the freedom to apply it properly because their manager isn’t confident that it will work, OR in some cases are worried that it ‘will’ work and they’ll be upstaged by their junior.

  • A little knowledge can be a bad thing…the wrong tool at the wrong time in the wrong place consumes time and resources and can cause more problems than it fixes!

  • The training itself is poor, and delivered by someone who lacks real-world experience. They may or may not know the theory, and don’t know how to put it into practice!

We know these things because this is what we’ve observed over the years when companies come to us. This is usually after having had their employees ‘trained’ elsewhere and not experiencing the results they expected, yet they still have the desire to improve the performance and results in their business.

The point is, effective training is critically important, but it’s only one leg of the stool. For substantial business results it needs to be applied properly to real-world problems, in the right place and at the right time. That takes experience!  To sum it up, let’s just say that you can’t learn to ride a bike by reading a book!

The solution

Start by identifying what’s holding your business back from what you’re trying to achieve. That’s not always so easy to do if you’re too caught up in the daily operations of business and / or haven’t got all the necessary expertise in that area. Sometimes it’s best to get a set of experienced eyes from outside the business to help you. 

Identifying what’s holding you back requires an understanding of where you want to be (business goals), where you are, and a gap analysis. The ‘where you are’ bit requires an objective assessment.  We use our Diagnostic Assessment process + experience to do that, here is one you can try on your own.

From the above, we can help you determine what puzzle pieces are required to bridge that gap. Appropriate training is usually just a small fraction of what’s required.

Business insights

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