You are not a dog

I am not a dog.


Blog notwithstanding

You are probably not a dog.


I did say probably.

So if you aren’t a dog why do you need…training?

I was doing some work with a service and before we had even started gathering data, the number one problem and solution had been pre-identified…training! Obviously more of, never less.
This is the number one go-to-solution for a service problem. Training is the default cure-all solution.

In most cases training as a solution to a perceived problem is useless because the design and management of the work system is responsible for WAY more performance than the individual. Get the system right, then use data to see if individuals need help to increase their capability at meeting customer purpose. Train the system! Not the individual.

Training is done in rooms away from the actual work, divorced from the context of the real problems which have prompted the training in the first place. Then the person goes back to the work where nothing has changed and is the same system with the same performance problems and the same causes…the design and management of the work. Training won’t solve that. Changing managment thinking will solve that.

Yes, yes, yes, but why is training so useless? Well, there is the thing…..


 It fits.

It fits right into the current way of thinking, the actual root cause of performance problems.
It fits with the assumed problems of command and control:
-problems of command (telling people the command bit)
-problems of control (the ability of people to do those commands).

Look at the things that people are allowed to say are problems in your organisation. If it is fine and dandy to talk about the “communication problems” or “people with the right skills” then BE ALERT. Those aren’t the real problems. They are just the default words that people are allowed to talk about. It’s never controversial to say there should be more and better communication or more skills would be a good thing.

Training as a default solution doe not challenge these assumptions, it buttresses them.

The most important things learned are never trained out, they are learned in the work by doing. [like this post says]. Training just adds new stuff, which may or may not be useful but learning changes you for the better by testing and then chucking out old stuff that isn’t relevant any more. Just ask Homer!

A test.
Imagine a person approaches you for some advice on something. The sort of big thing, where someone less experienced comes and needs your opinion. Imagine you thinking…you know what to say… you clear your throat and start your answer…

Do you say

“I have been trained that…”


“I have learned that…”

Anything important will have been learned. Learning trumps training every day. When people learn they are changed, permanently.
You are a homo sapiens, literally “wise man“, or woman, and you got that way through learning not training because you are not a dog.
Training fades, learning stays.

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1 Response to You are not a dog

  1. Pingback: Look around my eyes, don’t look into my eyes. LASER BEAMS come out ’em | thinkpurpose

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