The hardest part about my job is that clients want me to perform miracles. Whilst I aim to please, sometimes it is just not possible to do in one day what they want. What most clients want is for me to take often complex situations, difficult dynamics and career-long habits in people and after one (or two days if I am lucky) change their behaviour. Clients are after all paying a lot of money and taking people out of productive work for a significant amount of time, so it makes sense that they want to see practical change in their behaviour and productivity when they return to work.  Typically I would be asked to address things like ‘cultural diversity’, ‘time management’, ‘solution selling’ or ‘business management skills’ (see our website for our full training offering). Being TomorrowToday I always like to motivate people in to why they should want to learn these new skills by contextualizing what could learn in new world of work thinking. sustainable-training-in-organizations1

To learn one has to be willing and open to learning and see the benefits of that learning:

If I were to take just one of the courses listed above as an example: ‘cultural diversity’ or ‘transformation’ in the workplace, we are potentially talking about massively complex issues. The aim inside most organizations that ask if I do ‘cultural diversity’ training is usually to improve the way people understand, tolerate, empathize and work productively alongside one another. What they perhaps often overlook is that in order to actually achieve these aims, a lot more that needs to happen than one day talking about different cultures in South Africa. These conversations are actually about people’s identity, their life experiences, their socialized bias and prejudice, their emotional intelligence, their levels of trust and respect for themselves and one another and their willingness to even engage in these kinds of conversations, which will directly be linked to their self-esteem. I can facilitate the interplay between sufficient information and conversation and I have tried and tested ‘activities’ that work to get people to rethink their perspective, but to sufficiently optimize a change in behaviour one needs time preferably.

The same would be true of ‘time management’. Perhaps less emotionally charged because there is not as much baggage attached, but being open and willing to engage with being more productive with your time will also require from participants a willingness and openness to reflect on what their real relationship with productivity and time is like.

The brain learns in stages:

Once we have participants fully on board in terms of wanting to learn, we still need to be aware that the adult brain is not as much of a sponge as a toddlers’ brain. Besides all the ‘noise’ inside most of our heads (i.e. all the other things we should be doing whilst we are having to sit through this training), we simply cannot take on board too many new concepts all at once and still be expected to apply them in other contexts.

Educators talk about ‘stages of learning’. When we are introduced to a new concept we can be expected to recall that concept (as long as there are not too many introduced at any one time). However, whether or not we actually comprehend that concept needs to be tested, which if we don’t have sufficient time to assess, reflect on and revise those concepts cannot be guaranteed. Unfortunately if we are not able to comprehend information then it is not likely that we will be able to analyze or integrate information, and if we are unable to do this then we will not be able to apply information.

This is why in a perfect world participants of any training would be able to do so over a long-term period, where they are given opportunities to engage in training that becomes a progression towards application, with practical application in-between contact days with the trainer.

If you are wondering how you can achieve sustainability through training, and actually change behaviour, please contact [email protected]


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