Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Price of NOT Training

As a full-time Professional Speaker for the last four years, I have been asked so many times, “How much does your training cost?” I have learned to reply, “Would free be too much?”

Training is not a cost. It’s an investment. It really doesn’t matter what we pay for an investment. What’s relevant is what we get in return. One of the best ways to jeopardize an organization’s future in today’s world and increase the probability of troubled times is to look at training as a cost and pay the price of not training or provide substandard training that operates only as a Band-Aid for the training requirements.

It’s a simple principle. An organization’s staff is where they are currently, in terms of competence and success, in direct relationship to what they know and how well they apply what they know. We all come into this world the same way, broke and naked. (And we all leave the same way, broke; they give us some clothes.) We knew how to do nothing when we arrived but then we learned. The more we learned and the more we applied what we knew, the greater our success and thereby, the organization’s success has been.

Some like to quantify the results from training. Here’s a good example. A person being paid $50,000 per year who is wasting just one hour per day is costing the organization $6,250 per year (excluding benefits, overhead, opportunity costs, etc.). If, for example, through one of our Time Management Seminars, that person can learn how to re-capture just one hour per day, that translates into a payback to the organization of $6,250 per year. If there is a group of 25 people involved in the same training and they all receive a similar benefit, the return to the organization is $156,250 per year. (And this does not include other benefits to the organization such as profitability, reduced turnover, improved morale, enhanced teamwork, better customer service, greater creativity, etc.) Over five years, the payback is $781,250. What should an organization invest to achieve that return and payback?

Many find it difficult to get the time for training. This is another false economy. (They are so busy doing it the wrong way that they cannot take out a little time to figure out how to do it the right way.) When someone says they cannot afford to take three days out of their next week for training, I know they are looking at training as an “expense,” and not as an “investment.” Three days out of five is 60% of that week and that would be a big expense. But three days out 365 is a drop in the bucket and if that investment provides just one idea that saves one hour per day, every day, the payback on the investment of three days is over 250 hours just in the next year.

Not so many years ago training, beyond showing employees the basics of doing the job, was an option for most organizations. Today it is no longer an option. If any of us continues to do what we do the same way, within five years most of us and our organizations will become obsolete. Why? Because our competitors are helping their people to become more effective through training. If we look closely at companies that are doing well in the long run, they almost always have in place a well thought out and executed training program for their people. They understand that the price for not training is the real expense of training.

Sunday, December 9, 2012


At the beginning of each year so many of us commit to changes and worthy goals to be accomplished in the next twelve months only to be disappointed come next December 31 when we discover we are no closer to achieving those resolutions than we were on January 1. The noble resolutions we made early on became unstuck. 

So I looked at this dilemma and created four useful suggestions to increase the probability that your New Year’s resolutions will stick this year.

1. Quantify It. Sometimes we are just too vague about what we want. Therefore, a resolution such as, “I want to lose weight this year” will probably fail. It is too vague. How much weight? Be specific. What would your ideal weight be, less what do you weigh now, is what you are going after. It is not enough to resolve that; “I want enough money in the bank this year.” Quantify. What specific amount would soothe your soul.

2. Set A Deadline. Resolutions that are to be achieved “as soon as possible” wind up in the heap of “Someday I’ll.” Deadlines are commitments. Without a deadline as a self-imposed pressure point, getting started is easily postponed. You see, deadlines put us on the line and define when failure occurs. Deadlines also help us to break the resolution down into little bite-sized pieces. For example, if your goal is to lose 25 pounds by June 30, that translates into approximately 4 pounds per month, one pound per week, or a daily reduction of caloric intake (or an increase in daily caloric burn) of just 500 calories per day. Now that’s manageable. 500 calories a day is easy to achieve. 25 pounds seems like a leap across the Grand Canyon. Until we quantify our goal, set a deadline, then break it down to its daily requirements, the resolution will forever seem unattainable.

3. Change One Or Two Things At A Time. We generally do not like change in the first place. We seek the familiar and avoid the strange. The more change you put yourself through, the higher the probability your campaign will collapse. Focus in on one or two of the more important resolutions you seek to accomplish this year. When you achieve one or the other, start on the next one. Don’t overwhelm yourself with too much change all at once.

4. Be Realistic. There’s just something about the start of a new year that gets us all wound up for changes in our lives, sometimes extraordinary and unrealistic changes. We become much like the child in the candy store whose eyes are bigger than his stomach.  Be realistic. You can only accomplish a certain amount within a period of time. Don’t saddle yourself with unrealistic resolutions that will only spell failure later on.

Would you like to receive free Timely Time Management Tips on a regular basis to increase your personal productivity and get more out of every day? Please send your request to deepak@managementthinker.com