Today, Harvard Business Review blogger Ron Ashkenas observed that one of the reasons why management training is so easy to cut in tight budget times comes from the lack of tangible connection between sending managers to training and results in the workplace.
Participants may note that they found the training valuable or enjoyable, but can anyone point to clear outcomes and improvements that stem from the training? Often they can’t. And the program gets cut.
Ashkenas offers a simple solution: ask participants to bring a business problem to the class to work on; have them develop a way to address that problem as part of the class; and insist that managers execute those plans after the training.
As part of our Certified Public Manager program, participants work with their supervisors to identify an area for improvement in their department or organization. Generally this takes the form of process improvement, revenue generation, or cost savings. During the year-long CPM course, they identify a problem or opportunity and develop a plan to address it.
Of course, we don’t have any say in whether these plans get implemented. Some don’t. But many do. Like this Olathe, Kansas recycling program that will likely save the city $500,000 a year.
And not only does the sponsoring agency see a direct relationship between the training program and a result in the workplace, but the participant has had the experience of going through this process–hopefully it sets them up to be able to think creatively and strategically again when they next run into a situation that seems to need improvement.
For both the agency and the CPM graduate, then, there’s a connection between the training and an outcome. Financial times are tough, but agencies keep sending folks to CPM. I believe Ashkenas helped us articulate why. Click here to read his full piece. Or click here to learn more about CPM.
So what do tangible training results look like? What do you need to see in yourself or others after a class for you to consider it a worthwhile investment? Tell us in the comments.