There is a common misconception among new managers and trainers that all training they do has to be perfectly executed. I’ve often seen companies buy expensive equipment, top software, and costly talent to create training that didn’t really require any of that to be effective. It’s a mistake I’ve made myself.
When I was first teaching, I used to spend my own money to buy the perfect song for the lesson, or have that perfect image for the opening slide. Looking back I realize how much of a waste that was. Was it perfect? Maybe. But I could have found something cheaper or even free that would have been just as effective. (I still have some weird music on my iTunes from those days).
In all the years I’ve been a manager and trainer, I’ve yet to have one person tell me effective training wasn’t perfect, so they didn’t learn. You might be thinking to yourself, “well duh, he said effective training, so of course they learned.” You’d be right – and that’s exactly my point.
In his book Disney U – How Disney University Develops the World’s Most Engaged, Loyal, and Customer-Centric Employees, Doug Lipp rightly says, “Even the lowest-tech, bare-bones, and budget-challenged training program will get the job done as long as hearts and minds are captured.” Lipp is dead on. (By the way, this is one of the best books on corporate training I’ve ever read.)
I’ve seen scores of examples of iPhone-filmed training that was far more effective than a highly produced and polished film. Please don’t misunderstand me – there is absolutely a time and place for highly polished training material (like culture videos,) but it’s not ALL the time.
Grassroots, unpolished filming, or live training sessions can sometimes carry a level of authenticity and connection to the audience that polished material lacks. Some of my favorite TED talks are people that get on stage without fancy slides or props, and just speak from the heart.
Effective training does not need to be expensive, extensively planned, or highly produced. It certainly can be, but it doesn’t have to be. If trainers, managers, and executives would spend more time thinking about how to engage the learners, and less about making it look just right, the workforce as a whole would be much better off.
As you plan your next training – be it eLearning, face-to-face, blended, micro, or any of the other fad methods of training, stop and ponder first what the end result should be. Then consider that end result and think through the most effective way to engage the learners. Good today is far better than perfect tomorrow.
Or as someone once said, “Done is better than perfect.”