A PARIDIGIM SHIFT NEEDED IN ATTITUDE TO TRAINING

As the world shrinks to a global village, the value of traditional competitive advantages such as capital, technology or protected markets is relatively insignificant, and the key competitive advantage of most organizations around the world in the future will be its people. Thus one of the greatest challenges facing the corporate world as the world races toward the next millennium, is that of training and development of human resources.

According to Arie de Geus the author of The Living Company, “The ability to learn faster than competitors may be the only sustainable competitive advantage in a rapidly changing world.” Hence training as a management function will surely be one of the corporate world’s top priorities in the coming decades.

A basic learning instinct is inherent in all forms of living organism including human beings, as a survival mechanism. Training is basically to condensed learning through experiences for maximum efficiency.

Nancy Dixon in her book, The Organizational Learning Cycle postulates.

“L > C” and Ecology formula meaning in order for an organization to survive its rate of learning ‘L’ must be equal to or greater than the rate of change ‘C’ in its environment.”

In his seminal work the ‘Condition for Learning’, first published in 1965 Mr. Robert Meckanize delved deep into the process of human learning. From his research and his experience on the field, he concluded that the most effective training takes place when the final task or objective is broken up into its set of component parts . The idea is that the mastery of job proceeds from a mastery of simple tasks. Thus a step by step approach to the mastery of complex missions is the best approach.

Research carried out by the American Society of Training and Development show that real training cannot be transactional in nature such as a seminar speaker talking and giving good ideas that are appreciated and bring about great initial enthusiasm but are seldom absorbed and implemented.

To quote Fred Kofman & Peter Senge ‘the Learning required in becoming a learning organization is “Transformational Learning” '

According to John L. Marotti, President -The Enterprise Group, people working together in interdependent relationships - partnerships - creating value with knowledge and passion, will succeed in the turbulent world we face in the future.

Hence real training must be transformational in nature that brings about enhancement of skills or changes of behavior.

Thus irrespective of whether the training is aimed at improving performances, involving the use of physical capabilities, verbal skills, intellectuals skills, or attitudinal changes, the old maxim ‘knowing is doing’ holds very true. The only true evidence of effective training comes in the form of changes in the trainees performance (output) and behavior (attitude), the key principle remains the same, that skills or behavior changes, has to be absorbed in small doses. Practiced repeated, shared with others, thus internalised and finally forms a part of a persons self transformation.

According to Fred Kofman & Peter Senge "In our organizations today learning is too important to leave to chance. I will not be adequate to offer training and hope that people will be able to apply new insights and methods.”

In the Indian business environment until recently only lip service had been paid to training. Due to a protected business environment a need for real training was not felt. The ‘personnel administration’ & ‘training functions’ in most organizations were indistinguishable from each other since the only role of the concerned professional was to have a training ‘calendar’ to send people for certain ‘training days,’ and use up the allotted ‘training budget’.

This attitude needs a paradigm shift in order for the Indian corporate world to keep pace with the dynamic global scenario to meet the new issues and challenges and hence fulfills the need to impart meaningful training.

Dr. Hiru Bijlani a Management Consultant and CEO of Zenith Global Consultants Limited, an instructor led learning training and online learning firm. He is also the former President of the Institute of Management Consultants of India and author of several books and articles.

 
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