Hazel Llewellyn and Corina Gardiner conclude the first Peterson SBS “Make the Difference” Academy which ran at the AECC. The final business challenge module was a stimulating conclusion of a 6 month learning journey.
Business Learning and Development Programmes in Aberdeen
The STC Global approach to work follows a well established set of stages and principles anchored by a process that focuses on the front end of putting a programme together. Making content relevant and familiar is at the heart of this approach – utilising company best practice and systems where possible to assist the target audience as they make the jump between classroom simulation and day to day application. Furthermore our programmes have a bias towards the commercial health of a business – focussing a lot on increasing profit and controlling cost.
Our experience has shown that early consultation with clients in devising learning programmes or business processes can radically improve the chance of long-term successful outcomes. This front end focus allows us to avoid problems such as these: ?
- delivery of content which is too generic. Most organisations have their own processes, procedures and tools - for most circumstances it is important that any training programme incorporates these - this not only helps to reinforce the current approach in the business but helps delegates to place the learning in greater context. It also avoids confusion, where otherwise there would be a tendency for delegates to say, "...but that's not how we do it here."
- providing a solution to the wrong problem. Clients have often come to their own conclusion as to the training programme they require without more fundamental questioning of the problem they need to address. For example, we had a client who wished to run a training programme for all their managers to learn to use Microsoft Project - our early intervention in this uncovered that the real issue the company was trying to address was late running programmes, but through some initial work with the client we established that the real reason for project delays was supplier management, hence the training solution was a completely different one.
- missing the opportunity to share internal best practice. Our early intervention with the client in designing training programmes or processes involves us asking how things are currently done in the company - this often results in interesting debate as it uncovers the fact that there may be no common understanding of how things are done in the organisation, or uncover that there are multiple methods at work. For example, a client asked us to conduct some training for their staff to make them more aware of how to financially appraise their work, but when management were asked how work was currently appraised it became clear there was no common understanding of expectations.
- finding the "what's in it for me" aspect. Delegates respond better to a process, training or method of work when it is clear how it may positively impact on them, as well as the organisation in general. For example, a drilling company asked us to undertake behavioural coaching for their offshore management teams - these people were naturally sceptical about why this was relevant to them, until we linked the learning to their ability to make their rigs more profitable and hence enhance their own personal annual performance bonuses.
- poor roll-out of learning & development programmes. By understanding early in the process what a company is hoping to achieve and how it affects individuals in the organisation, then it is possible to design a communication plan around the training - this involves the name, brand, campaigns, launch, etc. of the training programme so that it has maximum impact and relevance. In designing 'management academies' for organisations, we take the time and effort to work with the client to ensure that relevant branding is created, and that a launch event is held involving all potential delegates so that they have the chance to understand, and often shape, the nature of the training programme, resulting in greater buy-in and less confusion when the training gets underway.