Optimizing performance is a buzz word that is heard in almost any organization. As a leader you need to work at peak performance and get peak performance from members of your team. It is no secret that more organizations are doing more with less. In some cases companies have cut the training and development budgets. Those that have done so have not seen the relationship between the training and development and results. But is it the training or is it the way it is being delivered. I contend that it is the way it is being delivered.

One of the problems I have noticed in many organizations is their lack of clear objective for outcomes from the training they are providing. I recently had a credit union call me. They had found me online and saw that I was doing leadership development sessions. They asked if I could do the same thing at their premises. I asked about their business objectives for the training. In other words, what business outcome did they want to reach? They did not have a clear picture of their desired outcome. That is a big problem. If you don’t know where you want to go you won’t know if you get there.

Here is the first training and development rule to remember: Before you decide to do training and development make sure that you have a goal for a desired business outcome.

The second rule: once you have established your development goal make sure people are learning what you are teaching.

Here is an example. You want your team to develop better time management skills. Your team will need to learn some new skills but they will also need to develop new habits. If you were to offer a presentation with a dynamic speaker with a great delivery would expect to see results? The statistics say no. In fact, if you have just one exposure to a topic your retention after 24 hours will only be 50%. To make matters worse, a half month later you will have retained less than 2%. Yes, I do presentations at conferences but caution that I can share ideas and give food for thought but that they will not see dramatic changes in their staff regardless on the topic.

If you want to affect change in your team and cause your team to retain what they have learned you need to employ the process of spaced repetition.

Here are a few questions:

How much is 4 x 5? You quickly answered 20, right?

How much is 14 x 17? Not so fast. Let me get my calculator.

How long has it been since you learned your multiplication tables and how did you learn them? I am sure it was quite a while ago but you still remember because you learn them through spaced repetition.

Spaced Repetition

Your learning and development processes will not be retained unless you utilize spaced sessions with repetition and exercises to test their grasp. But once they learn they have it.

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