Naturally, my view is ‘YES’! (in most cases). This is why…
Recently, my husband attended a leadership course. It was the first he’s ever been on, despite being in a senior role for more than 10 years. Naturally, I grilled him about it!
It was a good course – no question about that. The trainer was knowledgeable, engaging and experienced. The concepts covered were interesting, up to date, and provoked thinking and debate. He enjoyed it and found it useful… in the main.
But it wasn’t bespoke to his role, or even his industry (though in fairness to the trainer, he acknowledge that everyone worked in the NHS). As someone who ALWAYS creates programmes that are bespoke to a specific organisation, I thought this was the one thing that would have made this workshop better – after all, training is all about application to the job. If we can’t apply what we are learning what’s the point of learning it?
I put this to my husband, and he agreed to a point: Tech companies and manufacturing work very differently to the NHS, and although it was interesting, it was sometimes difficult to understand the link and apply the principles to his environment. For example, there was no point in them learning about how to select their teams when they are just given their team. That was frustrating. However, he also said that because the workshop opened his eyes to other industries and other ways of working, it made him think about how he could challenge and do things differently. Something that a bespoke course may not have done so much.
Having reflected, I believe that what I specialise in – bespoke training design and delivery – is still the best way to develop people when we know ‘what good looks like’ and we want people to behave in a certain way – to gain consistency of approach. It’s very valuable to operators, first-line leaders and middle managers. But maybe if we want to challenge the way we do things round here, and stretch senior leaders, it’s not. But then, that’s probably why I tend to design training programmes for first line and mid-level leaders, rather than develop senior teams.