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The Difference Between Learning New Skills and Using New Skills

By Tim Deuitch

I want to offer some perspective that we have on the difference between delivering a really good training event and actually bringing new sales skills into your organization and I'll start with two data points.

00:01  One is that we know that within 90 days of folks who attend a training event, they've lost 85 percent of what they've learned in that event if you don't reinforce those skills after the event. We also know that 75 percent of the value of delivering training does not come from the event itself, it comes from other things, and here are the three components of that. We know that 25 percent of the value comes from the work you do pre-event, 25 percent comes from the event itself, and then fully 50 percent comes into play after it and we call this process really installing, installing the process of these skills.

01:10  So let me go in a little bit more detail on each piece. 25 percent that's dedicated to pre-event is really focused on answering the questions that most all participants would have. Why are these skills necessary? Why are you choosing me? How does this reflect or relate to my day to day? How do we make it relevant to my day to day work? What are your expectations of me and to what degree can we customize this work to make it as relevant as possible for me? The need to answer all those questions is beforehand, not in the initial day, because you want your participants to fully absorb and understand why they're walking into this moment. So the second piece is the event itself, which needs to be rich with leader involvement, with having your leaders share why it's important, with them demonstrating new skills and how those skills relate to the work you're trying to bring about. It needs to be full of customer examples that make it absolutely relevant to every participants day, and so you need to take the time to ensure that those things come alive in their eyes, and it needs to be a minimum of two-thirds interactive.

02:25  The participants need to understand and participate in the actual delivery of the skills and the practice of the skills at that moment. Then this third phase, which is the lion share of the ultimate value, is reinforcement. It's the ability to coach to these skills and so that the participants know that the coaching is in place for them, to have tools that they can use on a regular basis that are customized to their day-to-day use, that there's recognition in place of when the skills are done well and that there's guidance when perhaps they're not, that there's a chance to practice the use of these skills on a regular basis. All three components reflect what it's like to fully install skills in your organization the way you'd like to. Does this replace the value of a single event that doesn't have these book ends to it? No, the value of that event is perhaps like it's always been, that maybe there are a few nuggets that participants will draw from it, but if you really want to install skills that build performance out of individuals in their team, the three phases are absolutely critical to implement. You'll be glad you did and it'd be well worth the investment.

Best of luck and let me know how I can help you achieve more effective training!

Published: July 20, 2018


Tim Deuitch

Senior Performance Consultant

Tim brings over 25 years of experience working closely with business leaders throughout the Twin Cities and the USA. He has worked within a multitude of workplace cultures and economic cycles, helping leaders and teams improve their effectiveness and results. Since joining SEG in 2007, Tim has continued his work as a change agent, helping organizations meet their goals. Tim graduated from Warren Wilson College in 1983 with a B.S. degree in social work.

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