An open letter from Professor Robert O. Brinkerhoff

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From the desk of Professor Robert O. Brinkerhoff.

“When it comes to learning and development, organizations around the globe face the same challenge: Getting training to stick, making sure that mission-critical learning actually leads to sustained and effective on-the-job behavior.”

I have spent over 30 years researching this question. I have worked in partnership with academic colleagues and dozens of energetic learning and development professionals. I have also worked in a range of roles and organizations, from government agencies to Fortune 100 companies, including training vendor partners.

And we have made considerable progress, developing concepts, methods and tools that now have proven efficacy in increasing learning transfer, as well as helping to accelerate the execution of strategic initiatives.

Then we hit a bit of a wall. Our tools were essentially paper based and our methods required a lot of effort. Getting the kind of Manager engagement and learner focus needed for longer lasting results was challenging. Added to which, after several decades of work, I was beginning to move more towards my retirement, my time and energy also being spent on family and local volunteer initiatives.

Towards the end of my career, however, I then met Jon Serrander, the CEO of Promote International. Jon had earlier attended a lecture of mine, in Chicago. Now, several years later, he was visiting me at my home in Michigan, while touring the United States, on business.

Jon told me of the frustrations that he and his co-owners were currently facing. Namely, how best to help their clients make training stick. He walked me through Promote “a brilliant, web-based platform” that took everything I knew about getting impact from training, and put it neatly into an accessible and simple tool, effectively creating a learning process.

I could see immediately how the Promote platform overcame the problems that I had previously been experiencing. Promote clearly promised a quantum leap forward.

And so, I decided to join the Board of Promote, moving off the retirement bench, so to speak, and shifting my professional efforts to making training work, from the back burner of my retirement, to the front burner of Promote.

I am inspired and re-energized by Promote and their passionate founders. I look forward to working with them, bringing my experience and creative powers to bear. I want to do what I can, to help make this powerful tool even better. In particular, I want to get in into the hands of those who need it most, learning and development professionals, everywhere.

Professionals who share the same interest in getting learning to play its rightful role in helping organizations and the people in them, to success and prosper.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Brinkerhoff


Guided Social Learning: A key to a successful learning journey

Guided Social Learning is no longer a buzzword. It is a way to develop both organizations and employees. Get some hands-on advice how to get started in this blog post.

The social learning theory describes learning as a cognitive process that takes place in any social context, at work, at home, in school, amongst friends and family and so on. Social learning is not always positive, it comprises all behaviors.

For example: If my colleague shows up late to work every morning and I notice that he or she isn’t getting any negative feedback from our manager, there is a big chance that I will try to get into work later myself. But it is the same with good behaviors; I get inspired by my coworkers at work sharing ideas with them and see how they solve common issues.

In the training industry, it is common to use the theory to describe the difficulties of changing a behavior at the workplace after a training session, a big challenge to both the ones who deliver training and the customers ordering it. It’s said that guided social learning is one of the fastest growing segments of the training and education industry, and I truly believe so.

Working in HR/L&D, You invest in a training program and you want to see visible, hands-on results. As an employee, it’s hard to try out a new behavior at the workplace, especially if you’re alone trying it. You have to have a supportive and participating manager, open-minded colleagues and you have to have the courage and chance to try, fail, and try again to succeed.

With an effective and smart feedback culture and guided social learning, it’s possible to make the change happen. These are all things that you as an HR-representative can introduce and encourage at the workplace: In other words, start a learning journey that makes the learning stick.

Three ways how to create a great space with positive peer learning:

  1. Encourage the sharing “Inside and outside the classroom” – encourage the participants to share experiences, views and opinions.
  2. Don’t be afraid to use feedback: In a healthy environment, feedback is a great way to make people grow, change and inspire others.
  3. Wha’s visible gets done:  Get a tool to help you monitor the employees progress. Give them feedback exercises; connect them with their managers to create a positive peer pressure.

Guided social learning is one of the key features in Promote. Do you want to learn more about us and how our learning platform can make it easier for you to get real business results from training? Book a free demo with one of our solution experts.

Good news for all the licensees and customers to be!

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The new survey tool Fetch is now available for integration with Promote.

Fetch is a new tool that will allow you to create surveys and get a deep understanding about your learners by collecting feedback from them. In Fetch you can create surveys, collect data and create reports.

Fetch makes it easier for you to evaluate your programs, and to collect relevant comments and opinions. An invaluable part of the work to make your training programs more effective.

Fetch is now available as an integrated part of Promote. This means respondents can access surveys directly from programs in Promote. No more need for separate evaluation systems or paper based evaluations in the classroom.

In upcoming releases Fetch will also support quizzes, a great way to engage your participants before, after and during your courses and programs.

Get more information about Fetch and our upcoming Promote releases, contact us at[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/6″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Promote Network Summit 2016 was a success. Here’s a recap.

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During three intense and sunny days, the Promote Network met in Sweden for the annual Promote Network Summit. The number of delegates doubled from last year and this year we had people flying in from fifteen countries. With other words, there was a great interest and from what we have heard the event was much appreciated.

Tuesday – Workshop “Building and designing in Promote”

As normal during the PNS week, Tuesday meant a workshop for building and designing in Promote. The theme for the day was “Creating and maintaining engagement for coaches and participants”. It’s the most hands-on session during the week and covers best practice for designing training programs supported by Promote and how to implement them by building them the optimal way in Promote.

Even though it is a hands-on session there were some slides from the session we would like to share here. We will also upload the resources described during the session on the Promote website and send them in an upcoming email to the members in the Promote network.


Wednesday – Promote Sessions

Wednesday was the main day for PNS and Promote CEO Jon Serrander kicked it off with presenting some impressing statistics about the growth of the Promote Network. You are all making the network great and helping spread the message about results from training.


Jon also highlighted new Promote functionality that recently has been released. Starting in September we will be offering live webinars in connection to new releases to help you maximise your Promote experience. Register here for Round up webinar and Release 2.35 webinar. We were then exited to have a world premier screening of the new “This is Promote” video. The previous version has been very well spread and used widely in the Promote Network to explain Promote to stakeholders and clients. Feel free to share the video by embedding it or sending the direct link.

After Jon’s introduction, the main speaker of the day, Professor Robert Brinkerhoff gave a really nice speech about why he went out of retirement to join the Promote team. He then conducted a workshop called “Conditions for impact” where the audience, with great enthusiasm, worked in groups and presented how they are achieving the conditions in their own organisations using Promote. During the session there were plenty of productive discussions and good findings among the groups.


Speaking of Conditions of Impact, there was also a segment during PNS about the popular webinars with Professor Brinkerhoff. As a member of the Promote Network you are most welcome to attend the webinars and invite your customers to share the message. For the upcoming webinar please register here:


After lunch on Wednesday Promote product owner Andreas Aronsson presented new Promote functionality and a completely new tool we are very proud to launch. The assessment and survey tool Fetch.

The tool can be fully integrated with Promote and offers new possibilities to assess behavioural change as well as conduction level 1 surveys. Andreas did all demos live but we here is the presentation with screenshots instead. The last part of the afternoon was the presentation of the upcoming Promote user groups. Facilitated by Professor Brinkerhoff we will be launching a few different user groups in October with different purposes and channels of communication. Stayed tuned for more information about that after summer.


Promote Network Awards

During Wednesday evening it was time for the Promote Network Awards. On M/S Riddarfjärden in the Stockholm Archipelago there was a dinner with the award ceremony hosted by professor Brinkerhoff, Dr. Jim Kirkpatrick and Jon Serrander.


We are happy to announce that Informator received the Promote Award 2016 for the program “Change – with the brain in mind” at Ericsson.

Ericsson was awarded The Pilot of the year award for the SSN-pilot in Kenya.

Thursday – A Mindset for Results 2016

As usual Promote Network Summit was co-hosted with A Mindset for Results. With the tagline “Trust training to deliver”, AMFR2016 gathered almost 300 HR professionals in the beautiful venue of Berns to see keynote speeches by professor Brinkerhoff and Dr. Jim Kirkpatrick, participate in the workshop “Key challenges for impact”, get their questions answered in a panel discussion and enjoy a networking dinner at the expo area on the Berns Terrace.


Make this year great and see you at PNS 2017

We are looking forward to an eventful year in the Promote Network. There are a lot of exciting functionality being released in Promote, upcoming user groups and a lot of chances to help each other succeed by sharing experiences.


Looking forward to next year already!

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“They don’t have the time…?“ Really? (Part2)

[vc_row full_width=”stretch_row” css=”.vc_custom_1579602053435{background-color: #6c2a83 !important;}”][vc_column][pi_hero headline=”“They don’t have the time..?“ Really? (Part2)”][/pi_hero][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”5/6″][pi_image image=”997″][vc_column_text]My latest blog post was about management involvement and the sometimes incorrect assumption that managers do not want to be involved in their employees training, or don’t have the time. Both research and our experience show the opposite. As long as managers understand the importance of being involved and are given the accurate tools, they are happy to support their employees. This post is about how easy it is to involve your managers and create higher effect and results with the training.


1. Getting involved in goal setting

One of the most important parts of management involvement is goal setting. We often meet employees taking part in training programs without knowing why and how they are supposed to contribute to the organization differently when they come back. Encourage the managers to discuss and clarify the individual goals and expectations with the employees. Try to define the goals according to SMART and make sure the goals are understood and that the employees are committed.

2. Identifying situations where we want to see change

As soon as we start designing a new training program or improving an existing one, it’ very important to involve the mangers. Ask the question: In what situations do you want to see a new or improved behaviour? By asking this question your get the mangers to really think about crucial situations where they want their employees to act differently and more effectively.  By doing this early on, you have a created a better understanding of what we are trying to achieve with the training.

3. Letting the employees apply new behaviours

Managers play an important role in letting the employees apply what they have learned, i.e. using the new behaviours. According to the research by Dr. Brinkerhoff, 70 % of the participants try one to three times and then fall back into their old behaviours. In order to change this, the managers have to take part in the change and let the employees frequently apply what they have learned.

4. Commenting and giving feedback during training

When the managers have taken part in identifying situations where they want to see change, it’s much easier for them to follow up and give feedback on improved behaviours during the training. Feedback and acknowledgement from managers during training is crucial for the employees in order to try and stick to new behaviours.

5. Reviewing and evaluating goals

After the training, the manager’s role is to review and evaluate the goals together with the employee. To what extent has the employee reached the goals? What is the next step and what kind of support does he or she need to be able to stick to the new behaviour?[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/6″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Three Pillars of Training Programs

[vc_row full_width=”stretch_row” css=”.vc_custom_1579601898552{background-color: #ffaf02 !important;}”][vc_column][pi_hero headline=”Three Pillars of Training Programs”][/pi_hero][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][pi_image image=”961″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]For new recruits (or any employee for that matter), training is always a fun experience. Mostly because it’s where you learn something new. Sadly, not all training programs produce results that impact the business in a positive way, and even when they do, to prove these results is a big challenge!

This is not because the training program is bad. As a matter of fact, some of the most in-depth training programs can fail in achieving or proving results. Lucky for you, you can use Promote to create a one-of-a-kind training program that hits your goals, focus on results from the very first day and, most importantly, prove then! All of this while making sure that your trainees are having a good time.


It’s not all about you

The thing most training programs fail to see that it’s not all about the program itself. It should also be about the people who will take the training. Focusing only on one-part defeats the purpose of making a training program that urges people to learn.

It’s very common (more than you would think) to see people getting back to work after a training program, without applying their learning. It means the business will not benefit from the training; instead, money will just go to waste. With a training program, companies expect results, they expect their employees to learn new behaviors that will impact the business, and it should make a difference!


It’s very common (more than you would think) to see people getting back to work after a training program, without applying their learning.

In order to facilitate this process, training attendants need to be empowered from the beginning, their managers need to be involved and create the right environment for their return to work. For its success a training program needs to be designed with results in mind, with the right technics to involve managers and a set of tools that will help the attendant before, during and after the training.


Three Pillars of Training Programs

So you want to make a good training program with Promote but you don’t know where to start. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

It is said that there are three pillars that make a good training program. Let’s list them down one-by-one and find out why each of them are important when creating training programs.


1. Results, results, results!

Know what you want, knowing your goal is the battle half won. Sadly, this is where most training programs fail, they are created without a goal in mind. Well, you might have the central idea or the thought of the whole training program down but what really is your goal? Are you just going to stop with your trainees learning how the machines work? Or do you want them to be not just operators but also safety engineers?

2. Know what they want

Alright, so this is the part where we discuss how a training program becomes boring or ineffective. Like what I said earlier, it’s not necessarily because the central idea of the training is bad. It’s mostly because the training program was created without thinking what the target group wants. You know what’s the best part about this? This is actually the easiest part. Why? Because all you have to do is ask.

A simple questionnaire can give you loads of insight into what your target group wants. Would they want a more hands-on training session? Maybe give more concrete examples for each instruction for the training? When they know that it is for their own good, they won’t have second thoughts about giving their two cents worth.

3. Make it simple yet fun

I can’t really count how many times I’ve heard friends or colleagues tell me how much they hated a training program all because it was too complicated for a very simple training and I share their pain. People have this notion that when something is complicated then it is bound to be good not necessarily.

All you have to remember when creating training programs with Promote is that although the end goal is to gain new skills, habits, or knowledge, you don’t have to be so hard and strict about everything. Going down the “simple yet effective” route should always be your choice when making training programs. Not only will this make the program fun and easy for the participants, it will also save you the trouble caused by an overly complicated regimen.


You will be able to visualize results!

Applying all the three pillars of training programs is a lot easier with Promote. Promote allows you to custom-fit any training program to your liking. With that in mind, the possibilities are endless.

With Promote, you can create a scaling training program that incorporates social learning along with effective training modules. You will be able to visualize results! Your attendants will have the conditions they need to use their new learned behaviors, when they get back to their workplace.


The company will finally benefit from the training and the business will experience a positive impact from it.

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How to create a training program that drives performance in 7 steps

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Business is all about executing on strategy,

to be aligned with what needs to be done.

Performance peaks when you spread and make use of best practice, minimising the time for customers and staff to get the best from your business. With the realisation that the majority of training programs are ineffective, there is an urgent need to improve learning and development.

Forward-thinking L&D professionals need to ask: how can my organization leverage learning to drive performance that will optimize staff alignment with organizational strategy?

By following these 7 steps, you can manage staff development and close the strategy-execution gap. This will be beneficial to the overall performance of the organization and to the long-term financial interests of the business.


1. Identify what business results the training should drive, examine the organizational objectives and any specific development, which the training initiative will need to address.

2. Share success stories and publicize these throughout the organization. This will promote best practice, enhance motivation and generate further feedback into the on-going learning process. Gather the data that you would like to present in the end of the program during the execution of the program.

3. Review the training initiative, to evaluate to what extent the core message in the desired behaviors has been adapted in everyday working practices. Have follow-up talks yourself with managers in different departments.

4. Ensure follow up on desired behaviors by supervisors or immediate managers; provide them with checklists or other job-aids to support them in pin-pointing the behaviors and activities that you want to drive.

5. Design your training program with focus on application of desired behaviors, what kind of training is needed and in what way to make them successful. A hybrid approach is almost always more effective.

6. Create an impact map that clarifies and links the training to the desired behaviors that drives the KPI’s towards organizational results.

7. Explore quantifiable metrics such as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that can state how the business is performing in relation to expected results from the training initiative.



We deliver proven results

*86% of participants apply their new learning consistently post training leading to value creation and business results x4 higher than the average training program.

96% of participants engage in best practice discussions with their Manager and peer group

91% of participants involve their Managers in goal setting

75% of Managers acknowledge the role Promote plays, in supporting those they lead to achieve the desired business results, through behavioural application.

Book a free demo


Guest Post: 10 essentials to make staff training work

When thinking about staff training, organisations often put their faith in what is available to them externally, they look outside for a complete fix to whatever problem they may have, and often behave as if training takes place in a vacuum.

Let’s take an example. Imagine that a company’s sales team is underperforming.  To address the situation, training is suggested to improve the team’s performance. A logical argument for sure. The question of cost will raise its head and discussions will be held as to whether the business can afford to spend a few thousand pounds on training the sales team. Someone will suggest that they cannot afford not to and the decision will be made that they ought to do it and the search for a training provider begins. Once found, the provider will deliver a two day sales course, the group will enjoy it and all will be well. Or will it?!

I have written often about what providers can do to ensure that the learning sticks and that the training is not just enjoyable but also actually creates new behaviours in order to impact on business objectives.

In this article I want to focus on what the business who bought the training can do to ensure it works as well as it can. For it is not down to the provider or the trainer alone!

1) When deciding which provider to use for your training, always invite three or four to meet and propose their solutions. It sounds obvious but all providers are not the same and making sure that the provider fits your business’ culture and approach is crucial for the success of the training

2) Always ask the providers what they do before the training and after the training to help make the learning stick, as well as what they do during the course. If they do not show any inclination to meet the participants (or at least make contact) before the actual course, it is unlikely they will be able to tailor the content accurately.  This is particularly important when training more experienced participants. If they have no way of embedding the learning after the course itself, it is highly unlikely that it will make a lasting impression.

3) Once the training provider has been decided, ask the trainer/facilitator to contact the line managers of those who will be attending. This is an essential part of the process. Trainer and line manager will need to collaborate in order to help the participants use what they have learnt.

4) Ensure that the line managers have a clear understanding of the content of the course and its design. This makes certain that they do not have to ask the participants what was included on the course. They should know so that they can help the participant use what they have learnt, in line with their personal development plans.

5) Give the line managers some guidelines as to what they should be doing before their team member or members attend the course and what they should be doing after they return. The training should be able to help with this. At Phoenix we encourage managers to attend a short session before their team members participate in any training to provide an overview of content and more importantly, an idea of their responsibilities for the success of the programme.

6) Make sure that the participants set objectives for the training and discuss them with their line manager. They must have a goal for the training and really know why they are attending and how it will help them going forward.

7) Do not fill the course with extras to make the budget go further. It is always tempting to add extra attendees to create better value. Only those who really need the training should attend. Extra participants with no real objectives or reasons to attend other than they “might need it at some point” only dilute the training and its impact. It is much better to spend the money on those who need the skills and can use them immediately.

8) Make sure you have an appropriate room for the training to take place in. It is amazing how much difference a good training room can make to the success of the event. Don’t be tempted to squeeze the group into an unused meeting room. If the training provider can’t offer or source training facilities, a quick search should provide you with plenty of choice to match your budget. Make sure they have natural light and good catering options. These are the two things I find receive the most feedback.

9) The participants should always return from the training with some sort of action plan or a what I’m going to do now-list. It doesn’t have to be formal but there should be something that reflects what they are going to use as a result of the training. Line managers must have this post training conversation, that promotes the use of what they’ve learnt. It should not consist of”How was the training?”; “Really good thanks”; “Good”, and no more!

10) Give those who have attended the training the chance to use what they have learnt. They are being trained to develop a particular aspect of their role. It is vital that they are given the chance to practise their newly learnt skills. Training will probably have started the ball rolling in the right direction but they are unlikely to be experts at this stage. Practice in the “live” environment is where the skills become embedded. Without this the participants will quickly return to their old habits and techniques. Management support is once again vital to ensure this happens.

Execute strategy and drive change provide focus for results

[vc_row full_width=”stretch_row” css=”.vc_custom_1579601967887{background-color: #6c2a83 !important;}”][vc_column][pi_hero headline=”Execute strategy and drive change provide focus for results”][/pi_hero][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”5/6″][pi_image image=”973″][vc_column_text]Welcome to the clutter of everyday work. Surrounded by all of those things craving your attention. Constantly battling for your most precious resource – time.

Managers and co-workers alike have the responsibility to execute desired strategy and drive the changes this requires in their businesses. Ensuring daily business while creating the future one. Accountability for this being found at different levels to different extent.

Managers and co-workers alike have the responsibility to execute desired strategy and drive the changes this requires in their businesses.

How can they be supported doing this, how can they be helped to focus on the right results at the right time? There’s a lot of great change management research and managerial theory on how to do this and without picking or excluding any particular one it all comes down to:

  • Communicate a clear end state
    Know where you want to be and when
  • Ensure a sense of urgency for getting there
    Instil a want and need
  • Drive and support desired actions to get there
    Help people through the entire process
  • Follow up and measure progress so you know if you’re getting there
    Know how it’s going and adjust when needed

Executing strategy and driving change is people business and the people need to be supported by adequate tools. Tools being everything from clear expectations and mandates to relevant skills and support to use them all. And maybe most of all; a way to share lessons identified and to learn from each other. Help people focus.

Executing strategy and driving change is people business and the people need to be supported by adequate tools.

The initiative

Let’s look at a real life example from Promote Partner Mindset AB in Sweden. A municipal energy company wanting to strengthen their customer orientated way of working and while doing this ensuring a “one-company-identity”.

After agreeing on “let’s do this” and defining the end state the first step was sitting down and agreeing on and ensuring how to enable the above requirements.

The solution

First it was decided to involve all the managers and all the co-workers without exception. It didn’t matter where in the organization you worked, you were part of the culture and a part of the overall stakeholder map to ensure goal fulfilment. Then the rest fell into placewith the following guidelines:

  • Let managers be managers. Every manager from CEO down to the latest hire in first line management was both responsible and accountable to execute defined actions. Every manager had a personal account in Promote.
  • Follow established line management. No unique organizational set up. First line manger reports to middle manager who reports to business area manager who reports to the CEO. Taking advantage of Promote’s ability to allow participants to be both participant and coach in the same solution created an exact organizational reporting structure.
  • Define report formats. Based on goals and objectives a special report format was established.
    Result reports were sent to own manager only. This enabling a detailed and frank business results reporting. Using the coach functionality in Promote this drove the entire solution in one place ensuring relevant information for the relevant recipients.
  • Work towards a learning organization. Lessons identified and learned were shared for everyone to see and take learning from. This enabling internal stakeholder understanding and shared learning. Public reporting on Promote spread the learning and created many rewarding on- and offline discussions and a library of learning. Everyone saw all of this.
  • Make it action orientated. Manager-led workshops formed the backbone of the solution. Every manager held workshops on the same theme with their submanagers and co-workers within a coordinated time period. The CEO with the senior management team, business area managers with their middle managers who did it with their first line managers who finally did it with their co-workers. Every member of staff took part together with their respective manager. Five one day face-to-face sessions were planned to support them doing this, a half day for lessons learned from what’s been done and half a day preparing them for the next round.

Every member of staff took part together with their respective manager.

  • Create an iterative process. Planning is everything, the plan is nothing. With a clearly defined end state and the major steps in place it was allowed and actually encouraged to get smarter along the way. Continuous follow-up meetings between the senior management team and Mindset ensured a valid and near future design of the solution. Promote’s drag and drop functionality enabled assignments to be adjusted, changed and/or added to.
  • Ensure change and avoid a quick fix. The solution was designed to play out over 8 months with a dedicated face-to-face session for each of the five defined steps. Using Promote in chronological mode created a business almanac based solution with the current assignments always on the start page whenever participants logged in.
  • Create one voice. A “day one, day two” approach. On day one the senior management team went through exactly what was planned for the rest of the managers on day two. This ensured alignment and last minute refinements to content and actions needed. Promote was adjusted accordingly every evening on day one.
  • Ensure daily business. Using Promote as the solution support system, the number of days away from business could be kept to a minimum and daily business integrated into the solution.
  • Make it visible. Promote clearly showed who did what and who didn’t, this creating a sense of urgency in itself and a clear measurement of application.
  • Support, support, support, application and learning! Thanks to Promote all the participants had the job aids, guiding documents, e-learnings, each other’s experiences etc. at their fingertips whenever they might need it.
  • Follow up and evaluate. Level 1 and 2 evaluations at every face-to-face session complemented by Promote’s visual representation of level 3 followed up by a participant subjective level 4 indicators evaluation ensured both relevant in-solution adjustments, extra drive and support efforts where needed and an honest and transparent sign-off between the client and Mindset at the closing of the initiative.

Some stats for you number crunchers out there

The initiative was run over 8 months with 41 managers as participants in Promote having in total 37 preparation and on the job assignments each. The total completion rate of these was 92% and they shared 1094 visible-to-all lessons learned comments and sent 428 private business reports to their managers for review, all on Promote.

The only time away from production for “training” was 5 one day face-to-face sessions capturing lessons learned and preparing for the next phase.

The business plan, organizational strategy documents, e-learnings, workshop agendas and numerous additional resources created along the way were available on Promote for everyone involved to read, reflect and seek support from.

Now we’re just waiting for the employee engagement and client satisfaction survey results to come in. And after that, bottom line correlation anyone?

Then it’s time to analyze, plan and follow up with another initiative, provide more focus to execute strategy and drive change.

How would you do it?

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Training needs to change to keep up with business

[vc_row full_width=”stretch_row” css=”.vc_custom_1579601993371{background-color: #00b5e1 !important;}”][vc_column][pi_hero headline=”Training needs to change to keep up with business”][/pi_hero][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”5/6″][pi_image image=”977″][vc_column_text]Markets are changing. Business is changing. Companies need to be light on their feet, to compete. The pace of change in today’s world demands it, lest you risk being left behind. To be strong, means to adapt. Training’s no exception.

Life cycles to execute on strategies are shorter than ever before. Business needs training as a performance tool, to implement strategies and new/better ways of working. In short, for companies to keep up with the world of business, training needs to keep up too. People need to learn faster, smarter and more efficiently. Training must be relevant to business execution.

Effective training is a powerful tool, by which business can implement desired ways of working. And yet, it’s common to find organizations still holding onto out dated views of what effective training means. An old mindset, often born out of an ill formed belief, that there’s a direct cause and effect relationship, between training and improved performance in the workplace. There’s not! Numerous studies and expert opinion attest to that.

In fact, research tells us that 85% of training initiatives have absolutely no impact on business at all!

So why might this be? Well, the old training mindset contains a catastrophic flaw, it separates training and learning, from the needs of the business. Meaning, organizations will continue to fail.

Training requires a new mindset. We need to fix what is broken. Effective training pertains not just to HR and L&D. It’s relevant to all who execute strategies and crave performance improvements.


Training needs to be more than just learning, it needs to drive performance

Good training is a powerful tool, which helps people perform at their best. Good training needs to address performance and be measured on performance improvements. After all, any training intervention ought to be able to provide a reaction of sorts, perhaps some even provide new knowledge and skills. However, the real value of training is when the outcomes from training act to drive the desired behaviors, in line with expectations.

In line with business needs, to be specific. So, not just knowing, understanding, or some other intangible line of thought that might derive from the more traditional training intervention, but putting such knowledge and understanding into practice, because it’s the “putting into practice” that creates real business value.

Training vendors and L&D professionals are not hitting the mark. Research tells us that learning transfer, that is, from learning to application, is low. In fact, when measured (and it rarely is), learning transfer, on average, can be as low as between 5-15%. And yet, despite such paltry numbers, research also tells us that it’s still paying the bills!

Let’s take a typical training intervention in sales, for example, statistics tell us, that in a class of 20, two delegates only, are likely to go on and make full use of their training and in so doing, effectively paying the bill for themselves and for the rest of the class!

The business needs remain. The vast majority still seem to be walking down the old business tracks. And yet, the train left the station long ago. And for a new route. People are getting left behind, and more so for each change. But what of the strategic implementation that was needed? And the baseline for future business development not being where it needs to be? (Or where senior executives expect it to be …) There will be disconnections.

The truth is, training alone can’t deliver increased business performance. Training can only make a real difference when enforced by performance drivers and it has the means to overcome obstacles. Training needs to be seen as a development process. It needs to be supported by business and not reduced to some costly event, measured by how much a participant likes the coffee breaks or the facilitator!

Line of sight has been lost. Often the participants and much worse, their managers,  lose sight of how a particular training initiative is supposed to support their organization’s aims and objectives.

Sometimes, even those designing and delivering the training interventions lose line of sight, seemingly no longer able to align the behavioral application of their training to an organization’s needs. Most easily seen in “learning objectives” that describe the effects of a training program (“After this program the participant will be able to..”), rather than addressing the actual needs of the business (“This program drives our desired behaviors for increased customer satisfaction and increases margins from our services”).

We need to work together. The degree to which training transfers into improved business performance, is often the measure of how well an organization is managing its training programs and processes. When training programs are managed well, in other words, they derive from business needs, and in so doing, individual learning outcomes are consistently translated into improved individual performance then the expectations on training will be met.

(Making matters worse, ROI studies on training initiatives sometimes attempt to distil the impact from a training initiative, with other, collectively produced results. Not only do these studies tend to be counterproductive, in that they distance training yet further away from the business, they also tend to be wholly inaccurate.)

Why invest in developing human capital? It’s not uncommon for senior executives or management to question the value of training; not unreasonably so, given the previously mentioned rates of learning transfer to improved business! Moreover, we know that multiple factors contribute to the success of a business through improved performance, without necessarily meaning the development of people. For example, investments in technology, marketing or consultancy. So yes, multiple variables contribute to the success of an organization. Another truth, if you like, is that these days, most things can be bought, written, or copied! But behaviors and culture, not easily so!


One study of particular note, is that of Bruce Pfau and Ira Kay (The Human Capital Edge, 2001), who showed a correlation between human capital and shareholder value. Based on an analysis of 750 large, publicly traded companies, they came to 3 major conclusions:

  1. Superior human capital practices are a leading indicator of financial performance
  2. Organizations with the best human capital practices provide three times greater returns to shareholders versus those with weak human capital practices
  3. Certain specific practices improve shareholder value, while others actually diminish it


So, to be successful and to be able to adapt over time, every organization needs to align people to performance and training to business. Working in the field of training, this is what you need to accept and adapt to, or face the consequences of being left behind.

And this is how you do it as a training provider or L&D professional:

You need to partner up with business. Training alone (no matter how great) will not bridge the performance gap. The new mindset requires a holistic approach and view to training. That it’s part of a performance system like nursing a plant, the seed needs sunlight, mud and water, to sustain itself over time. Too much of one, or not enough of another, and you’ll not grow something to be proud of, training is one key element among others, to be nurtured all the same.

You need to facilitate success! As a training vendor or L&D professional, you will need to drive the learning function and manage the learning process, which means stepping away from your desk! The research is clear, learning transfer won’t happen by itself. From learning to performance is a process. It needs support and key drivers, to be successful. Your role is to design and orchestrate a training initiative to drive the desired performance. Your function needs to contribute to business success.

Timeless truths


  • Always start with the end in mind, understand the needs of the business, for example, what will success actually look like and how will you know?
  • Engage those being trained, align what you want to achieve, think purpose and know their needs to be successful
  • Make it simple, but without ever over-simplifying, make it easy for those being trained to understand how to reach the goal
  • Set those being trained up for success, don’t leave it to chance, make sure the key “drivers” and support are in place

Source: Prof Robert Brinkerhoff and KirkpatrickPartners


Your path to partnership and success.


  1. Find a starting point. A training initiative that you believe could make a difference for business, that is not too big to handle as a “first case”.
  2. Start with the end in mind, discuss with your sponsor, see the big picture, understand “why?” and “how” the initiative is important to business.
  3. Identify critical behaviors and key indicators for desired outcomes.
  4. Know how training will make a difference, what will those being trained need, to be successful?
  5. Create an impact map, a description of how business needs are linked to the desired behaviors and key learning objectives (at the organization level, individual level, or both).
  6. Find points of evaluation and measurement, what will prove that each step delivers what it should? Identify feed-back sources aligned with everyday business metrics.
  7. Involve and co-operate with line-managers for follow-up and feed-back.
  8. Launch a powerful training program with support and drivers for success. And communicate continuous follow-up on the different metrics and outcomes.
  9. Build success-stories and share with the organization.


Promote International have the experience, system and processes to fix what is broken. With our support you will be able to address these issues and take on managing the learning process that you facilitate.

To be a partner with business, means acting like a partner. Still waiting for an invitation from your business?

Don’t, because it starts with you!

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