Those Who Train Must Do, In Business and at Work

“Those Who Can, Do; Those Who Can’t, Teach.”

–George Bernard Shaw

I received a kind reach-out last week from a prospective school-district client looking to train their teachers on how to best meet the needs of students whose families are currently homeless. As the potential training topic was not my wheelhouse / area of subject-matter expertise (Human Resources; Recruitment / Recruitment Branding; Strategic Planning; and LinkedIn are several of the SME areas where I proficiently and enjoyably deliver training), I was happy to refer them to a few agencies specializing in those services as potential training-delivery sources.

In good conscience, I will not train on a topic where I can’t be a subject-matter expertise (SME) resource during and after the training – e.g., answering participant’s questions that may not be included in the training content.  (And with all due respect to an author I otherwise admire, I do not subscribe to Shaw’s fictional quote as a workplace  – or educational – reality.) As both a trainer and a participant, sharing my own first-hand / boots-on-the-ground experiences on the training content always makes the training more engaging and authentic, reinforcing the content and the takeaways.

My HR certifications ensure that I commit to at least 20 hours of training every year. At this point in my life, it’s a vestigial incentive – I’m a sucker for continuing (and continuous!) education, particularly in professional skill areas which interest and energize me the most.

As a mediator, I particularly love participating in any available mediation training. I took one mediation training several years ago offered by a membership organization where there were two trainers – one trainer was an active and trained mediator like me; and the other trainer had never mediated. The mediator trainer shared first-hand (names etc. redacted for confidentiality) experiences, which made their part of the training interesting and engaging, and even as an experienced mediator, there were some great takeaway nuggets. The non-mediator basically recited the course material, which unfortunately made what should have been great training material uninteresting and at times, sleep-inducing.

Since that experience, when I consider taking a training, I always read the biography of the trainer. If they’re not a SME – that is, if they have not successfully worked and delivered results on the topic of their training – it’s frankly a waste of time and money all around.

Training and professional development are critical investments for any organization – as a business owner, I’m always looking for the return on investment.

How do you ensure that your organization’s training is effectively and substantively delivered by SMEs who can demonstrate their expertise and successfully transfer their knowledge to your top talent, in business and at work?

business people group at meeting seminar presentation in brigt conference room

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