Fast Training is like Fast Food
How often have I been asked, “We can’t take 3 days away from work for a workshop, so can you cut it to two days?”
There’s a lot of pressure to “cut the time AND cover all the material AND include practical exercises to build their skills”. If it’s a three-day workshop, people want it in two. If you reduce it to two days, they want it in one!
Here are my favorite reasons as to “WHY we can’t do a three-day workshop…”
5. “Our people can’t take 3 days away from work for training; they’re too busy.”
4. “Three days costs too much. We’re trying to contain expenses”
3 “Other people only take 2 days.”
2. “We know there is slack time in any workshop. The first day is usually slow.”
And my # 1 favorite reason, “Why we can’t do a three-day workshop”, is…
1. “Our people are intelligent, experienced, fast-paced, multi-taskers who get bored easily.”
Let’s face it. We’re all addicted to speed… we’re all too busy!
While there is some truth to all the reasons listed above, we can’t condense the time and still do everything. The question is, “Do we want to teach content (short lectures with some Q & A) or equip learners (practice the skills)?
If we shorten times, something gets sacrificed. Let’s think about what we lose and what it costs. I see three things that we sacrifice when we shorten workshops.
The first and most impactful is practice. Flawless Consulting workshops emphasize practice, individual and team, in a safe environment. Practice lets people know quickly how they’re doing. You have someone to coach you and offer suggestions. You get to try various approaches to see how they work. Without practice you are less likely to use the skills you’ve learned. And practice usually gets cut when we want to shorten a workshop.
Next, we limit relationships. Flawless Consulting workshops have people working in pairs, trios, and small teams We want people to work together, to build teams and networks yet we give them few opportunities to actually meet and talk. In a one-day workshop, we just begin to recognize people and then it’s already time to go.
And last is contemplation time. Flawless Consulting workshops build in “time to think, ” individually and collectively. As we think, questions emerge and possibilities occur. We begin to learn. Without contemplation, we tend to stay in our old mode of thinking and very little changes.
So, what’s the cost of reducing the time? The training may end up being superficial, lacking depth with little change occurring. Without practice, people usually lack the patience and confidence to try something new. The result? The experience is seen as a feel-good or entertaining time with limited value. The money and time spent are wasted.
I’d love to hear your stories. Drop me a note. Let me know how it’s going.
Charles L. Fields
Charles L Fields, Senior Consultant at Designed Learning, has traveled the world by car, rail, plane and ship, watched the sun rise on Croagh Patrick, and sat on Victoria Peak, weathered a perfect storm in the Pacific, bartered for a darbuka in the Grand Bazaar, prayed at Lord Nelson’s Sarcophagus, eaten lunch in the oldest restaurant in the world, and presented Flawless Consulting and Empowerment workshops in over 25 countries. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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