If you want to spend your training budget frivolously or have your people “tune out” during workshops, focus on the skills they already have, or the skills they don’t necessarily need to perform their job effectively.

If however, you want more bang for your training and development buck, and you want engaged participants, learn from that old sales and marketing phrase, and “narrow your focus to broaden your appeal.”

I was recently approached by a client whose goal it was to increase their team’s leadership capabilities. We started by assessing each of the participants to identify their skills gaps, and then drew up a “Learning Path” for each.

With this document in hand, our client was able to sit down with each of their managers to review what skills improvements were important to their job, and how they might address it. Some attended face-to-face programs. Others completed the on-line courses the company made available. A few others opted to read a book, or be mentored.

This approach worked very well for several reasons, specifically the realization that not everyone needed to excel in every skill. Instead, by understanding which skills were important to the individual’s current job, and which were needed for those same individuals to move forward, it was easy to focus the training initiatives. Finally, in order to contain their training budget, it made sense to have people trained only in the skills they needed to improve.

Starting out, we had to make a case for using the assessment process up front, instead of just conducting a full series of leadership programs. But in the end, we received positive feedback from all participants, including, “I really appreciated taking the assessment and knowing that this course was focused on what I needed, not a whole lot of stuff I already knew.”

If you are looking to control your training budget, and still make a real impact on the development of your staff, talk with WATMEC about focused solutions.

About Dale

Dale Wilcox is co-owner of WATMEC. Dale is a respected board member, former volunteer of the year, and inaugural Chair of the Canadian Society for Training and Development.