No luck required: Three proven training practices

happy st Patrick’s DayWith Saint Patrick’s Day tomorrow, it’s tempting to start thinking about luck. Who gets it and why? How come some people seemingly stumble into winning situations every time?  We all know “that person” — the one for whom casinos and lottery tickets were made. They always seem to win without ever trying.

Surely, some individuals are touched with the luck of the Irish, but it can actually work the same way for organizations. Some companies end up in the right place at the right time and see great success, not by foresight or ingenuity, but by what might be considered lucky timing or other oddly fortunate breaks.

According to Harvard Business Review, some very successful companies really are just lucky:

“…we evaluated 287 allegedly high-performing companies in 13 major success studies. We found that only about one in four of those firms was likely to be remarkable; the rest were indistinguishable from mediocre firms catching lucky breaks. By our method, even in the study with the best hit rate, only slightly more than half the high performers had profiles that were credibly attributable to something special about the firms. In short, what qualifies as remarkable performance is anything but self-evident.”

The trouble is we can’t count on luck. We can’t cross our fingers and hope that we’re among the chosen ones. No, we have to be deliberate and set a proactive path to success. We’ll welcome any lucky breaks along the way, but in reality, we do need to try.

The good news is that there are some time-tested, proven best practices in corporate training that don’t require any luck at all. There are established methods that will make your learning programs work (i.e. drive performance, improve company culture, streamline employee and customer experience, etc.).

Three “no luck required” practices for corporate learning success are:

  1. Setting performance goals. Putting performance goals for employees in place is a great, reliable way to measure if your training programs work. Start by establishing baseline measurements and then compare performance before and after the training. Include learners in the process by letting them know what’s being measured and what the new performance expectations are.
  2. Conducting assessments. However old fashioned, testing remains the most often used and effective method of determining if the learner understood and retained the material. As you look at your reports you’ll know without a doubt if certain concepts or skills were fully grasped or not. When learners fail or do poorly in a particular portion of your test, it will be reflected in the results. Keep in mind that it may not be the learner’s fault. You may need to rework your training material to help them better comprehend the subject matter.
  3. Asking for feedback. For a reality check on how well your training program works, you need to ask for feedback. Put your ego on the back burner as you process any constructive criticism you receive. Remember, these results enable you to immediately identify what’s working and what isn’t, so that you can improve it. Survey responses also help you tailor future training to better meet learner interests. What topics were most interesting, for example, or in which areas would they like additional training?

Enjoy your Saint Patrick’s Day! May it deliver a special dose of good luck…