5 Platinum Rules for Choosing Training that Works


“If you don’t know what you’re looking for,
it’s unlikely that someone else’s solution is in your best self-interest.”
– Angie Katselianos
Most training works for the companies providing it, not the businesses or people who pay for it. A key reason for this is that the lion’s share of firms in this industry focuses on their ability to do rather than on the client’s ability to improve.

Self-aggrandizing claims, details on methodologies, pricing, and touchy-feely testimonials conspire to dazzle prospective clients with sophisticated approaches. But rarely is any of that in the client’s self interest. Consequently, vendors sign a contract that meets their needs, but where does that leave you?

Deliberate preparation is essential in meeting your needs.

  1. Put Yourself First.
    Even if money is no concern, consider your time and effort. You shouldn’t really care how good your development resources are. Your primary interest is how good you are going to be by the time they’re done with you! Ultimately, this factor determines value for you.
  2. Clarity is Key.
    Establish clear objectives before exposing yourself to the external influence of providers. Ideally, what would you like to accomplish? What specific improvements do you seek in your life or business? Prioritize your goals and do not compromise to accommodate the agenda, products or services of providers.
  3. Focus on Outputs, Not Inputs.
    Learning is a process that enables you to do something you could not do before. A common mistake is to confuse the means with the end. In determining desirable performance objectives, focus on results, never on inputs, “deliverables,” or tasks.


    • Conduct sales training
    • Enhance leadership capability
    • Create better senior management teamwork
    • Empower service personnel

    • Increase sales closing rates
    • Accelerate making tough calls
    • Speed cross-functional knowledge sharing
    • Improve customer satisfaction
  4. Measure Success in Advance.
    Objectives are worthless if you can’t tell whether they’ve been achieved. Prior to selecting development options, define success. Quantitative (objective) metrics can include things like market share, employee turnover, customer ratings, etc. Qualitative (subjective) metrics are often more challenging to define, but have a powerful influence on your degree of satisfaction. Examples may include things like effectiveness, teamwork or stress. It’s still important to measure the unmeasurable – “I’ll know it when I see it” doesn’t cut it. Consider how you would demonstrate success to a third party, and choose specific behaviors and evidence that will indicate progress.The key is to agree with development firms beforehand on the success-measuring criteria, devices, and standards, as well as who will do the measuring. Done properly, this approach will help you avoid mistakes and favorably influence training design and delivery to ensure that you achieve your goals.
  5. Serve YOUR Best Interest.
    Training expenditure must secure a clear return on investment. This return is directly proportionate to your benefits from achieving the pre-established objectives. The greater the benefits, the stronger the payback. (See Fig. 1).
      1. Fig.1 – Alan Weiss. Published with permission.

Determining the value of your expected outcomes is essential when deciding whether to spend organizational or personal resources to achieve them. Ask these questions:

  • How will you be better off by doing this?
  • What would be the effect on performance/ productivity/ profitability?
  • What is the opportunity cost of doing nothing?
Whether you are responsible for investing personal or organizational resources, choose training that works. Turn cost into an investment and collect a valuable, measurable return to build on for you and/or your business. When prospective providers demonstrate that they can meet your objectives, improve your condition, and create value that exceeds their presence, you’ve found your match.
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