Why Leaders Should Participate In Training, Too

As a leader, the number one way to ensure that your team gains the highest ROI on your training investment, is by getting involved. It communicates that you take the training seriously and you’ll hold your team accountable for implementing what they’ve learned.

How to Empower Your Sales Team To Implement Training Content

The sales training session ended almost 45 minutes earlier and the participants were still chatting in small groups around the room. Launching at 8:45 a.m. with regular breaks and a 40-minute lunch, you’d figure they would be high-tailing it out of there at 5 p.m.

It was approaching 5:45 when Kat, the CEO—part of one of those small groups—approached.

“Thanks for coming!” she said. “It’s been a terrific day and our team is really excited about the changes. So am I.”

She continued, “We’d like to meet with you to follow up on a few things. We’re committed to implementing correctly the things we learned today. The team’s drafted a list of things to accomplish and assigned leaders.”

“You mean you did?” I asked.

“No, they did it on their own,” was the answer.

Perfect. The team was engaged and was taking control of its education.

Leaders Help Learners Stay Engaged

Often, training participants fall victim to the all-too-common “we learned a lot but didn’t do the stuff we learned” mentality. That was not the case for this team. Why? Because of their leadership and the company culture that having a hands-on leader created.

The difference between participants forgetting everything they’ve learned and actually implementing the training content is having a leader present during the training.

In this case it was the CEO, but it could have been a VP of sales, a sales manager, or the like.

When leaders show up for and participate in training classes, it ups the ante and makes the session even more important to participants. It communicates the message that the training is important and they take it seriously.

Participate, But Don’t Dominate

Leaders should participate but not dominate or intimidate while they are there. Kat showed up and participated, but she let her team shine.

The team had gotten together before the session and set learning objectives. Instead of being instructed to just show up for the event, the participants went in with clearly defined goals of what they wanted to learn.

They were motivated to be there and they understood why they were. They requested — and received — pre-training “homework” so when they walked in the door, they were ready for the day.

The Value of Post-Training Coaching

The company negotiated — up front — for post-training coaching.

The participants knew they had resources available to them after the event and, moreover, knew they would be held accountable for their results.

Behavior changes and skill implementation are more easily achieved when the individual knows that they have their leader’s support.

Faster Implementations Creates Higher ROI

They created action plans before they left the room.

The session was high-energy, creative, and collaborative, but that is only a part of it.

The team wanted to make sure there was ROI and realized that the quicker they implemented what they learned, the greater the probability they would retain the training content and see results.

They chose to stay late to make initial plans, and the right people were in the room.

The Right People And The Right Company Culture

This points to two things: The company is very selective in its hiring process (evidenced by low turnover and high morale) and the people in the sessions had high buy-in to the spoils of improvement.

The company culture also reflected that learning and development was the path to innovation and innovation was the path to profitability and success. The company had hired people that agreed.

It’s often best to decide before we’re even in the class to avoid the knowledge sewer — that curious hole where we stash all the stuff we’ve learned but not implemented.

Ultimately, people follow people that they like, trust, and believe in. Download a FREE chapter of Jeb Blount’s People Follow You to start learning how to build stronger relationships with direct and indirect reports that lead to loyalty, higher productivity, and long-term development.

About the author

Patrick Morin

Patrick Morin is the president and COO of BrightHammer, LLC, a venture management firm…

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