Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Turn your training center into a profit center David Beecham, Director Training was due to return to the UK after completing his two year stint in I

Turn your training center into a profit center

David Beecham, Director Training was due to return to the UK after completing his two year stint in India. The board had to make a choice between inviting another person from the parent company on a deputation to India for another two years or groom a successor from within the company to succeed David. When David was asked, he felt no one in his department was ready to step up to this role and asked them either to look out within India or check with the HR identify a successor for him. David was also equally forthcoming to develop any candidate the Indian management put up to him and asked them to invite applications to field the position he was vacating.

Everyone was surprised when Anil Sharma, a 35 years young bright engineer MBA was named the successor. This has been the first among the several positions held by the overseas directors that were to have a person of India origin stepping up to the mantle. Speculation and curiosity triggered a corporate grapevine that doubted the fairness and objectivity with which the senior management team had gone about selecting Anil. The HR Director understood the gravity of the grapevine to turn into cynicism and decided to convert the crisis into an opportunity.

Anil was invited to share with all the contenders to this position the approach to training that he recommended to the board. The HR Director encouraged Anil to face up to the ‘heat’ and earn the legitimacy he would anyway require to stay successful in his new role. This is what Anil presented to them.

“I stated my career five years back in this company as a complete novice. Upon joining the company I felt so much overwhelmed by everyone else around me that professed to be an expert while I had to learn everything anew the hard way. It was evident to me right from start that unless I learnt continually, I will never succeed as a professional that I aspired to be.

However I felt that the spirit of the culture of learning that was essential for growth was not reflected in the philosophy we chose to adopt at work nor conveyed faithfully to all the fellow employees.

For example,

    • Our purpose lacked clarity and I aligned it to the development of vocational skills necessary to stay employable.
    • Second, we never mandated that training should translate into results within a short time window.
    • We never bothered to check if the effects of training were enduring enough after the completion of training.
    • Did we align the training intervention to the collective vision of personal and organizational excellence?
    • Not everybody learnt best in the class rooms; why not make it self paced and self assisted?
    • Why were we throwing money and efforts at people who did not demonstrate an appetite for learning?
    • We were giving away our proprietary know how by outsourcing our training.
    • Last of all we did not have a measure of effectiveness reflected against a business goal of market, knowledge or price leadership.

After all it is the measures that drive performance ( see table)

So I recommended giving the position to me so that I can run the Training center as a Learning center with a clear profit motive. I am reassured by the confidence evinced by the Board in my conviction.

I solicit the support of each one of you in making this idea a success.

There is so much at stake for all of us and every one of us in particular.

Thank you”


Measures that drive performance

  1. Subject matter of training
  • Sunset skills
  • Azimuth skills
  • Sunrise skills
  1. Lead time for fruition
  • Instant
  • A week end
  • A 5 day work week
  1. Shelf life of peak performance
  • Quarter
  • Half year
  • Full year
  1. Strategic intent
  • Retention of market position
  • Aggressive advancement
  1. Delivery mode
  • Self paced learning
  • Assisted learning
  1. Learners’ profile
  • Ambitious
  • Audacious
  • Accountable
  1. Content
  • Proprietary
  • Vanilla
  1. Goals
  • Market leadership
  • Knowledge leadership
  • Price leadership


  1. Nice Article....I am able to Visualise...

  2. You should Tweet This.
    Also please visit the following URL:

  3. Thank you very much.
    It is available on twitter as Shekarsan

  4. Nice article sir.....The measurement of EFFECTIVENESS of Training is dificult....

    Training is successful even if it reduces time cost ,energy cost or Pych cost.....

    But it all depends on HOW SERIOUSLY the TRAINING is taken !!! both by management & the employee !

  5. Thank you Krishnan.
    the irony is measurements derive behavior. Getting the senior management to generate the right behavior requires as much selling effort as the promotion of IPL does. This is an area most of us are prone to ignore. that is what makes Anil Sharmas of the world so unique!