Choosing the best training: how to sift the gold from the gravel
We all know what it's like. We're rushed off our feet, about to go to a meeting, the phone rings and it’s a cold caller. Every week I'm inundated with calls from training providers, and it can be quite difficult to sift out the gold dust from the gravel.
I once had a colleague who used to play a game with cold callers: she would let them talk, until they asked a question. If they asked a closed question, she would give a closed answer. If they asked open questions she would answer honestly. This used to go on until she got bored and defaulted to the 'please send me some information' response. In other words, the standard brush-off. All great fun, but not particularly helpful to anyone.
Another colleague has a standard response. He asks for details of the supplier's USP, which law firms they have worked for, and if they know anyone at his firm. The immediate test is to see if they actually respond. If they do, he can then do a bit of digging around to see if they are any good, and occasionally arranges to meet one or two new people every year. Though this is very professional and systematic, it tends to mean he sticks to the safe options, and few people deliver great performance by never making any mistakes.
Is it possible that there are new ideas out there, or suppliers that may have 'the next big thing' that will transform your L&D function? And if so, how do we sort the wheat from the chaff?
I think the first step is to be open to new ideas, new people and new approaches, rather than adopting the “not invented here” approach.
In a recent article in People Management John McGurk from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development reported on some of his research from L&D practitioners. Too many of us were relying on the same old models, and I suspect suppliers, that just won’t be enough for today’s, let alone tomorrow’s, more complex business challenges.
Law firms are sometimes more conservative than others when it comes to this type of thing. So if you haven’t heard of nudge thinking, heuristic learning, or brain plasticity, it may be time to invite a few of those callers in for a coffee.