My problem with training is it presumes the need for indoctrination on systems, processes and techniques. Moreover, training at bests assumes that said systems, processes and techniques are the right way to do things. When a trainer refers to something as “best practices” you can be rest assured that’s not always the case. Training focuses on best practices, while development focuses on next practices. Training is often rote, one directional, one dimensional, one size fits all, authoritarian process that imposes static, outdated information on people. The majority of training takes place within a monologue (lecture/presentation) rather than a dialog. And perhaps the worst of all, training usually occurs within a vacuum driven by past experience, not by future needs. I am only saying!
I think the solution to the leadership training problem is to scrap it in favour of development. Don’t train leaders, coach them, mentor them, disciple them, and develop them, instead of training them. Where training attempts to standardize by blending to a norm and adapting to the status quo; development strives to call out the unique and differentiate by shattering the status quo. Training is something leaders dread and will try and avoid, whereas they will embrace and look forward to development. Development is nuanced, contextual, collaborative, fluid, and above all else, actionable.
Below are a few pointers as to some of the main differences between training and development:
- Training blends to a norm – Development occurs beyond the norm.
- Training focuses on technique/content/curriculum – Development focuses on people.
- Training focuses on the present – Development focuses on the future.
- Training stifles culture – Development enriches culture.
- Training encourages compliance – Development emphasizes performance.
- Training places people in a comfort zone – Development moves people beyond their comfort zones.
- Training is finite – Development is infinite
- Training places people in a box – Development frees them from the box.
This list is not endless, but highlights some of the key differences I have seen throughout the years.
I suppose then if what you desire is a robotic, static thinker – train them. If you’re seeking innovative, critical thinkers – develop them. I have always said it is impossible to have an enterprise which is growing and evolving if leadership is not.