Tuesday 28 April 2015

Why Do Most Behavioral Training Fail?

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According to a study published in Wall Street 60% of corporate Six Sigma Initiatives fail. Many projects do well as long as the Six Sigma resource is tagged to them. Any guesses what really happens when the Six Sigma expert leaves the project?

Knowing and not doing.

A few common reasons why Six Sigma projects fail when the expert is gone are:

Ø  The team members know what to do but have lost their focus and motivation.
Ø  The team members have learnt how to handle the project however their behaviors have not been impacted
Ø  There has been learning and applying and yet, their habits of dependency remain unchanged

Inappropriate Modules

Does it never occur to a facilitator that an audience attending their training on “Decision Making” actually took all their critical decisions in life without this training? In work place, he is just unsure because his reporting manager is a control freak and, does not empower the team to take decisions.

Is this a gap in learning or training? And who needs the training really?

Ineffective Methods

When L&D team design programs relying on lectures, inspirational tales, audios and videos, role play, group discussion, gallery walk and simulation exercises – it scores high in feedback forms. Is there any change in behavior or output in work place?

When most organizations use their training investments just as smartly as they do their stationeries, the impact is going to be just as insignificant and negligible.

Organization goals

If trainings are not linked to strategies and project goals, there is no way training can bridge the gap between what is explained in classroom or webinars and what is carried out on the job. Behavioral, technical, leadership and even role based trainings are segmented, introduced based on projects or individual needs or leader’s whims and fancies – not remotely aligned to strategic goals. Training efforts are not well coordinated; each functional unit isolates their initiative and learning.

Performance Criteria

When an employee’s appraisal is tied to number of trainings attended, number of training hours concluded and not personal or business outcomes achieved, such training efforts never get off the ground because there is no behavior change as the whole exercise is mechanical and for the books only, not the mind.

Build how-to skills
Learn and not just be trained
Change behavior and attitudes
Own outcomes
Produce tangible results
Apply and measure

Wednesday 15 April 2015

Not Yet Another Training Module Please!!

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It is not about training module but a conducive environment to apply learning and existing abilities.

Find out through BECKON questionnaire, what is the exact learning need - before firing the training missiles (Read modules)!

Wednesday 8 April 2015

Old Proverb Made New – Self Help Is Not Always Best Help

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Everyone is trying to secure a spot for himself - either with their natural talents or with skills they acquire from various sources and experiences. Continuous learning to keep pace with this dynamic environment is not a matter of choice any more - It is a necessity.

Does learning match the speed of change? How do people learn? Is there always a need for a mentor or an institution to learn something new?

Did your parents foresee this challenge when you were a child? Did teachers train you on how to learn things on your own? Did they make you aware that you will need to adapt without external interference and advice?

As children, if you were not allowed to discover your potential by stirring your interest, passion, curiosity – if you never had the opportunity to self-learn, as adults, this will be your only reason to fail in coping with learning needs. The dependency on others to learn is not a trait but just a habit.  

Being self-taught is often an unconscious ability and it can become your second nature and as effortless as breathing if you have an inclination to absorb things in your own creative way and try it out in a more optimized manner – purely by your own motivation and imagination. If the young days were full of guided learning without the slightest effort to do things in your own way, there is very little chance that you will know or try a better way of doing it now – easier and effective - when you are old enough to deliver and not just try.

When a mind is already hooked to any activity because it holds their curiosity, they have very little or almost no inclination to follow instructions and it is their imagination, that inherent competent desire, the freedom to try - that brings amazing learning and in depth understanding  to the table.

Guidance from training consultants should merely be a word of caution – not a full-fledged training session -just in case learner is distracted from learning goals, over a period of time. It is not just about making learning a self-initiated process but observing without constant involvement – if the ability unfolds to its full potential and gets repeated in other areas of learning.

Training consultant also need to ensure, the infant steps and little efforts to learn by themselves are not influenced by prevailing social belief system - as the biggest challenge for an adult mind is not engage in self-learning mechanism but to let go of age old habits, eternal dependency and that huge need for confirmation from everyone else – if the progress is not quantifiable, there is an instant disconnect, he is suddenly snapped out and everything he was doing suddenly is drained out from his thought process.

What many did not do as a child is part of BECKON Coaching framework – Self-help will not be the best education if those early years’ practice to learn on your own was missing – Let’s get started now.

Monday 6 April 2015

Can You Train Or Coach Someone With Victim Mentality Attitude?

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I am not sure, if the words 'Mentality' and 'Attitude' can go together. Anyways.

The very first criteria of BECKON learning strategy is to assess an individual's current capability before chalking out learning road map and signing off desirable outcomes, they plan to achieve. As coaching consultants, you will face huge challenge if your resource is one with "Victim Mentality"

It is incredibly easy to identify a person with victim mentality as their characteristics are so prominent that you can spot them miles away. We figure out during Q and A and face to face session. The saddest part is they have the faintest clue of it.

Is it a personality trait or an identity? That seriously depends on how chronic the case is.

These people tend to regard himself or herself as a victim of the negative actions of others. They will speak exactly in that language as if that was the truth, even if there is no way to verify it and there is no evidence. It is a habitual thought process and quite naturally dominates their language, imagination and energy levels.

What language patterns will you observe to immediately draw your conclusions: How much time will you need to train those thought patterns? Will you need a complete era or three lifetime? Probably not!

When you know it is the language patterns that govern people's victim mentality - That is your first remedy zone.

You will hear a series of negatives - about what wasn't, what isn't, what won't, continuous projection how someone or something outside is responsible for their thoughts, feelings and destiny. The final hint is their soft language - what they doubt, why they delay and what worries them. 

None of these empower them and as a result they have a tough time trusting themselves and making decisions simply because it is their language that controls their feelings and their actions. Why do they speak this language because they are habitually trained by themselves to think like that?

Here are Cathy's lines:

I hope I don't get tongue tied today. This interview is very important

If you constantly visualize getting tongue tied, how confident would you feel? You are destined towards jeopardy.

I was late last time for an interview because I met this old friend and he went on and on 

Certainly not her fault who forgot to tell him that she is on her way for an interview and will catch up later.

The more you know about the language, the more you can easily avoid it and the coach just acts like sensors, to assist them be on track, with the right language first that can re train their thought process.

Friday 3 April 2015

Can Volunteering In Community Initiatives Be A Learning Mechanism?

Volunteering in community initiatives and other endeavors to create impact in society, can be a great learning model – It can assist volunteers to gain workplace skills, a sense of responsibility and a forum to test many of their own inherent abilities. These skills can definitely fill the gaps in workplace, if appropriately utilized.

A volunteer, as we know is someone who performs a service willingly and without pay. It is not any obligation that drives the volunteer to provide such services. It is either based on his interest or passion to execute the voluntary assignment to see results. When you do a task without expecting any monetary return and encouraged mainly by consequence and outcomes, the learning is not only faster but also self- motivated and without any excuse.

If such efforts are streamlined and organized, engaging people with potential can be fruitful exercise both for the community and volunteer in terms of experience, learning and acquiring results. Both individual contributors and managers can be developed in such programs. This approach to talent development will prepare the volunteers with few of these attributes, provided they are associated with a project end to end.

Decision making:

As part of a program, when volunteers gain knowledge of local resources available, they take decisions on the spot to solve community needs, except those that require approval from program leaders.

A sense of ownership

The sense of ownership toward common goal automatically makes you not only accountable (Individual) but responsible (Group) so that there is no disruption at least due to your contribution as that will have direct impact on the outcomes. As it is community related and its result affect people, any one with bare minimum integrity will execute their individual tasks with care. This programs provide the volunteers several opportunities to build trust, resolve conflicts and keep their focus intact.

Team players

Volunteers work with people from diverse background to work toward a common impact and while working with local charitable and nonprofit agencies, they learn and gather enough knowledge about the functions of various departments, which is huge training in itself. They not only learn team work but depending upon how critical the project is, they also become better and effective communicators and project leaders. Their self-esteem increases many fold.

Volunteering is more about you, than others. The decision to volunteer is the first step towards new learning in a very unconventional way.

Thursday 2 April 2015

How Do You Train A Layman On Project Management?

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It is easy for a professional or certified project management resource in the corporate world to explain at length what exactly project management is and most of his audience can relate to it. However the challenge is to simplify the concept of project management, so that every initiative in business or home environment is treated like a project for better results – It could be cleaning your back yard in one day or finding a new good institution for yourself or being trained on audit before the next appraisal.


When execution of a task and initiative has dependency on multiple factors and stakeholders, is it a good idea to treat it like a project? Yes and No. Even if you can do it all by yourself, involving others can provide you required perspectives to take an informed decision. You do not necessarily need a project charter that captures activities to be carried out, ownership, roles and responsibilities etc. The most important element in project execution is to set milestones to check progress of the project.

If your first milestone was to list all good schools in your area - before others in your team research, contact, seek feedback, visit, pick forms, prepare you to clear online tests, submit fees and complete admission, where do you think you stand in this project if the very first milestone is pending until the admission has begun.

It is undoubtedly a project mismanaged and you will probably end up finalizing an institution just to meet the deadline and not lose your academic year. Each time you fail in achieving milestones, you go a few steps backward from your final goal.

When a project is managed well, the productivity of each contributor can be easily assessed and held responsible.

One was supposed to list the institutions; another was expected to gather feedback about them, one of you was supposed to visit selected institutions before taking a call on which one to finally settle for. As individuals involved in the project know what their deliverables are, with a common goal and executed without stress.

     Time frame

Even if all things are done right – and the time frame is not maintained, it is project failure depending upon the impact the delay can cause. The key component in any project is maintaining time against all odds.

Going by out example, you can imagine the rest


You need to know when to start implementing your plan. More important than that is to know when to stop analyzing the plan to make it full proof and start with its execution. You can involve others as project progresses depending upon need of the hour however delaying execution imagining crisis and other unforeseen factors will only hinder the project.


Leader drives the project for best interest of all. He is the one who just knows if project fails - how it will impact and how severe the consequences can be.

Functionally, even if it is you who is supposed to list those institutions for your own admission however if you do not seem to be bothered much, the one who knows how it will affect your life takes the lead and replaces you with someone who can do what was allocated to you.

When a task – big or small –you can foresee is a little too much for you to handle all by yourself. Find the right resources, test their interest, set expectations regarding output, fix time and get started.

This is an edited version of what was originally published by Triond

Wednesday 1 April 2015

Does Training Reduce Or Lead To Attrition?

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It is not countries or companies any more but individuals that are on a global platform with their skills, capabilities and expertise. No wonder it has become one of the key challenges employers face and fight today – what gets implemented as a retention measure backfires at them: Training and Learning

People learn and leave is the prevailing concern of most employers. It is almost like employers are investing huge amount of money in training their resources and making them work ready for another company or their competition.  This happens at all levels.  Companies tie up with MBA institutions to sponsor their employee’s higher education or let them attend seminars to enhance their depth of knowledge, who often leave for greener pastures and higher pay.

Engage individual

If trainings are conducted to engage the individual and equip him to do his work well and perform better, the chances are high that training objectives will make sense to him. It does not necessarily have to be group training – it can be a combination of knowing, coaching and mentoring as well. If training succeeds in connecting with resources to ignite passion for the job, half the battle is won.

Competency and culture match

If there is no competency match, there should ideally be no hiring. If you hire people just to close a vacancy you automatically run the risk of losing them after hiring and training them.  Perfect competency fit is not a solution either as while little gaps can be managed with training, if there is a mismatch with organization culture, the risk remains the same.  Both the resource and the organization have to be ready for each other for a successful take off.

Retention Measures and Analysis

When you introduce training as a retention measure, you have to analyze in detail if it will trigger or mitigate stability issues. Contracts and signing bonds does not work as it is a clear reflection of the low trust quotient companies have on their employees, which is serious disconnect in itself.

Training is ongoing

Ideally, training should be a process and not an annual event or monthly exercise that an employee undergoes out of compulsion and not voluntarily to learn. It should be ongoing and with responsibility and accountability to deliver. 

Involve stakeholders

The work environment has to be training friendly. Each member and stakeholder  has the support and create an atmosphere for learning – how training can make you more capable, how training effectiveness will be measured, how the resource can manage crisis and critical situations after relevant training – practically anything to create that interest in the employee’s mind to be trained.

Assess needs

Training is a strategy that can increase productivity, reduce attrition, impact business outcomes or increase employee satisfaction however it can fail miserably if a thorough training need analysis is not conducted before releasing the calendar for different workshops.  Assess needs of individuals, business units, leaders and the organization to launch appropriate training programs and be ready for the next level of progress.

Investing in human capital is not a matter of choice. Training does not directly cause attrition, it is the associated factors with training that needs to be viewed with a critical eye and taken care of.