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Most people live their life as reaction to events that happen around them, and very few create events and define how they will live their Lives...

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Monday, February 7, 2011

In today's business environment, efficiency is the ultimate goal to save resources and reach effective operational cycle. Training is used among other means to help reach that purpose. 

American companies spend as much as 200 billion dollars on training interventions (Carnevale, Gainer, and Villet 1990). Most of that budget is considered a waste and most importantly it does not achieve the desired objectives. As a result, businesses have diverted their focus to measure training effectiveness, and its Return on Investment.

Although researchers have tried continuously to find the magical equation to calculate training effectiveness, yet it is still an area of continuous debate. There are two schools of thought in this regard: For example, Philips (1990) devised a methodology to quantify training results and called it Training ROI. At the other bank of the river, DeSimone, Werner, and Harris (2006) stated that training effectiveness is a "relative" matter. Given both schools of thoughts, the fact remains that the squandered resources on training remain an area of business concern.
Taking a closer look into such matter, it is valid to ask why most training interventions fail? Such question was legitimized by Cromwell & Colbs' (2004) finding that "not more than 15% of learning transfer to the job, after attending any training". Such finding is astonishing!

From my experience in training management, and as a trainer for 10 years now, the reasons for training failure are:

1.    Training is not designed for specific purpose. Generic training has no specific objectives to accomplish.   
2.    Training not related to trainees' daily work. Concepts addressed in training are not paralleled to the trainees' daily work functions and not applicable to what they do and therefore irrelevant to their need.
3.    Training style used is not aligned with the training objectives. This is a common illness in training because trainers use delivery methods that do not serve the needed purpose. For example, the trainer chooses to lecture the concept designed to equip trainees with new skills. Such method may be suitable to deliver certain information however it is least effective in the case of skills oriented training. 
4.    Inappropriate training needs analysis (TNA). TNA is the core process in defining the required competencies to be trained. In most cases, TNAsare done as "Cherries picking", where staff and their managers choose their courses without digging deeper in the selected courses. There should be a clear understanding of the business functions and processes in order to do the TNAs properly.
5.    Trainees are not motivated. From my experience, I have seen many people attending training, for the following reasons:
a.    Build their CV and compile as many courses as possible.
b.    Escape work and consider training as a "run a way".
c.     Forced by the manager to attend training without being informed of the training benefits. 
A few people whom I trained came with focused thoughts about the deriving benefits from training and how to use it in daily work.
6.    Training does not build the required competency but entertains them.  This is the case where the trainer does not tackle the courses' objectives and deviate to focus on side issues and entertain trainees instead. As a matter of fact, the smiling sheet evaluation fails here because scoring a 95% does not necessarily mean that the course was effective.
7.    Trainees often struggle to apply the new skills learned. After training, trainees feel motivated because they have learned new concepts and tools to apply in their daily work. However this motivation might be killed by the existing culture at their workplace if it is resistant to any kind of change or if their manager and peers are not supportive enough to apply what they have learned.
8.    No post-training, follow-up and support. After any training, support and follow up should be made available to the employee when required.
9.    Too much information given during training. This problem happens when trainers flood trainees with too much information, making them lose track and focus during the training.
10.Loss of focus on courses' objectives. Some courses are designed to tackle a concept like sales. However, as the course proceeds, time is spent on talking about how to handle difficult customers during sales instead of focusing on selling skills, which is the main focus.
11.Theoretical training. Nothing expressed in the training but theories and lack of applications. As a result, trainees loose interest with the course because it is does not reflect real business environment.
12.No real life cases. Cases help trainees relate to real business environment and feel that what they do is part of real business practice. Without real life cases, trainees will be disconnect from such stream.
13.No variety in training activities. Given that people learn in different ways, ineffective training delivery focuses only on one approach and ignores others, which leads to losing audience attention.
14.Training is a process not an event. Follow up, refresh training, and feedback, all are important elements to ensure that the process is active and fruitful. But if training is treated as a stand alone event, then the development chain is broken.
15.Training venue is not properly equipped. An interesting comment I received from one trainee, in one of my courses, where he said: "I am happy that the course is over because the chairs were painful". Imagine sitting for 3 continuous hours on periods of 2 to 4 days on an uncomfortable chair, will you be thinking about the training or the pain caused by the chair? On the other hand, the training venue should also have the following facilities to deliver a successful training intervention, like flip charts, projector, room for breakout activity and space to move around.
Nizar Baidoun
Certified Trainer & Consultant


Posted By Ideas Group at
09:20 - AM
Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The first thing that most people do when criticized is to jump on the defensive side and justify themselves, trying to prove that the other party is completely wrong. What these people don’t realize is that by blocking any chance of taking anyone else’s opinion, they may lose the chance of perhaps getting an excellent advice. However such reaction to criticism is a natural innate reaction, similar to the “fight or flight” response our pre-historic ancestors had.

According to the British Psychological Society, “ The main reasons that get to leaders derailment is that they acquire an inflated sense of self-importance, grandiosity and entitlement, with weaknesses such as sensitivity to criticism, poor listening skills, a lack of empathy, a dislike for mentoring, and an intense desire to compete.”

To understand how successful people deal with criticism, we have studied 18 personalities from several industries, and came up with the 5 most important “must haves” that enable leaders to accept criticism and work with it turning it to their advantage.

According to their success stories, leaders must:

Have a Vision

When we have a vision, all of our focus will be on the long run and all of our efforts will be directed towards results. Successful people will use the criticism to their own benefit, and will see how they can integrate it in reaching their vision. They focus on what is right and not on who is right.

Have a Positive Mental Attitude

Successful people are optimists. They don’t let criticism hold them, they will instead look at the bright side and try to learn from every lesson. When you adopt a positive mental attitude, you will not be challenged by the person criticizing you.

Have Guts

As Winston Churchill puts it: “It takes courage to sit down and listen”. Successful leaders sit down, disarm, and open up to learn from others. “ People take criticism differently depending on who is giving them the commentary , we tend to normally accept our superiors comments while reject comments made from people who are at the same level of education, wealth and business seniority” says Fadi El Halabi a psychotherapist and expert on human relations.

Have a Democratic Attitude

Thinking or going big requires getting rid of the “my way or the highway attitude” and by that it means one should value the ideas of others above their own. The success of Steve jobs is his ability to listen to others and put people’s ideas into the market.

Have Emotional Intelligence

A high emotional quotient (EQ) is necessary for every successful leader. Leaders go through a lot of roller coasters and the more adept you are in riding those ups and down, the more successful you will become. Emotional intelligence helps those leaders to stay focused.  As Mayer & Saliovey puts it “ People high in emotional intelligence are expected to progress more quickly through the abilities designated and to master more of them."

Posted By Ideas Group at
12:05 - PM
Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Dubai, UAE  – New research from Regus reveals that UAE professionals may quit their jobs after the summer vacation due to lack of promotion and bosses that do not know, or do not communicate the company’s goals.

For 47% of respondents, finding that the next rung in the career ladder is a no-show was the top ‘get me out of here’ factor. 51% and 31% of respondents respectively would not stick around with a company lacking communication with management or strategic company vision.

Mark Dixon, CEO of Regus comments: “As workers pack up their swim-suits and towels after the holidays, they are more likely to dwell on the pros and cons of the job that is waiting for them at home. With reports indicating that one of the effects of the recovery is that many more employees have started quitting their jobs and looking around for new ones, businesses that are not providing all the trimmings may be heading for a brain-drain of their best talent.

“Stress caused by overwork has escalated during the past recession with people working harder and longer to make sure they can pay the mortgage. Bonuses and job perks were cut back to weather the storm, but as the economy picks up employees will be flocking to businesses that promise them better conditions and not necessarily the biggest wage.”

Other high-stress factors are a long commute to the office (25%) and a boss that takes credit for their work with 24% of respondents quoting this as a reason for making an ‘all change’ decision. In the UAE, where 12 to 14 hour days are quite common, almost a quarter of respondents would also leave if because of overwork (24%). Further dissatisfactions that could easily morph into ‘last drop’ factors were lack of administrative support (22%) and rude colleagues (18%).

The survey also asked workers what companies could do to avoid a brain-drain of their best talents. Aside from a pay rise, in the UAE, 40% of workers declared that private medical insurance was top of their wish-list and 35% called for the ability to flex their working hours.

Top 5 reasons for UAE professionals to quit their job this year:

  •   Lack of communication and involvement by top management   51%   
  •   Lack of promotion despite good work results   47%   
  •   Lack of company ‘vision’   31%   
  •   Too lengthy commute to work   25%   
  •   Your boss taking the credit for your own work   24%  


Posted By Ideas Group at
08:18 - AM
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