Why train your teams? I mean, it sounds like such a simple question when you just ask it like that, but we get this question all the time. Usually in the best way, but it’s a good question.
Training is an assumed activity for Isos, but it’s not always an assumed activity for our clients. Especially if we’re tackling a very technical objective. Like any good consultancy, we’re focused on the total solution. We measure that specifically by using the Net Promoter Score for each of our engagements (and we thank all our customers for taking a minute to respond to our frequent check ins).
Training is about ensuring that our client’s customers are satisfied, even excited about the work we’re doing. We understand that no one pops out of bed and thinks to themselves, “I can’t wait to carefully update my team on how our project is going!" But that’s exactly what our focus is, we want people to be delighted with how easy it is to keep their whole organization up to date on:
- How each person’s contributions are driving customer value
- How our collective efforts are part of a complex solution
- How we’re learning to be more effective, especially surfacing ways leadership can listen to their teams to remove process that impedes delivery of customer value
Training Improves Satisfaction
Training is about sharing what we’ve assumed, sharing how we have solved problems, and inviting the entire client organization into the system so they can continuously improve the system we’ve put in place for them.
To put it another way, training is about caring. Caring about how each person in our client’s organization participates in delivering customer value for their customer.
Every team that uses our tools is on their own unique journey and our tools are among the best in the world at creating a platform for collaboration and continuous learning. This is why we focus on high-quality, relevant, and valuable training.
Sometimes, especially with new clients, there’s a tendency to diminish the benefits of budgeting for training. For those clients, we present this graphic. The important thing to point out is that training is a governance activity, and we’re not as focused on who specifically delivers the training as we are on establishing that training isn’t a “tacked on” part of the solution.
Every time a new tool is introduced, or a tool’s configuration is fundamentally improved, it is disorienting. Supporting the people who use these tools requires respect and empathy. That’s why we sequence training after carefully understanding the needs of each team, and the amount of disruption our new configuration introduces.
When Training is Most Effective
Training usually begins in step 2, after a new tool or a dramatically different tool configuration, is introduced. We recommend training here to assist the people responsible and accountable for configuring the tool. This training is very focused on “how the tool works,” but it’s not as informed by the translation of the tool into how our client’s business works. Armed with this orienting and enabling perspective, our clients are able to participate in design conversations more confidently.
At this point, step 3, we move into the “trough of disappointment,” or what I like to call the DIY void. The tool’s capabilities are translated into the specific process and collaboration culture for our clients. We learn a great deal here and find effective solutions for the limitations and hidden capabilities of the tools.
During step 4, we level out to a new configuration that is, candidly, more effective than the initial ideas we had when we first started. It’s worth noting that moving through step 4 is where our effectiveness as a partnership really shines. At step 4 we begin to create more specific training that helps with onboarding and wider adoption.
Armed with this training, we can now objectively and effectively deliver training to help with a rollout. In step 5, we focus on training the wider team, so they can see that we explored many configurations and we’ve arrived at a solution that is as easy to use as possible, while respecting that the people we’ve done this work for are ultimately going to live in these solutions every day. The training in step 5 is often a combination of training focused on tool governance process and specific business process.
Training After the New Configuration is Rolled Out
Step 6 is where we find out how well we did, but it's also where we invest in a combination of support and training. Training is a “soft skill” that our clients tell us we are very, very good at. It can be difficult to determine if our solution will be effective without continuously assisting our clients with support and ongoing training. When the people that use the tools every day are moving from initial rollout to ongoing, day-to-day use of the tools, we stay on top of the feedback to make sure we’re all working to improve total satisfaction with the new system, and have delivered a solution that helps our clients stay focused on delivering customer value.