Trainer Tallk: Committed to Training

Countries such as Malaysia and Singapore are light years ahead of us in gaining top management support and involvement in the training process.

By Bob Pike CSP, CPAE, CPLP Fellow

As I write this column, I’m working in Malaysia and Singapore. Trainers in this part of the world are eager to know how we do what we do in the United States. They are eager to improve and will invest the time it takes to acquire new skills and knowledge. Senior management made this quite clear at the beginning of my stay.

As I started a five-day course yesterday, the director of sales training for the region said we needed to push back my part of the training 30 minutes because the president of the Asia-Pacific region wanted to provide an update on quarterly results and emphasize to the group the importance of their role throughout the region in helping to drive results.

He knew the key objectives of the course I was leading and emphasized the importance of this investment, as well. He joined the group for lunch before leaving for India and made the commitment to be back with the class at the end of the week to hear their action plans and to personally present the certificates.

During this week-long training, there were two nights when there were group dinners, while the other nights were taken up with homework and preparing team projects. The senior vice president of Sales and Marketing attended one of these dinners and sat across from me at our table of 10. He also knew what was happening during the course and made specific comments about the strategic importance of training to organizational results. He made the commitment to sit in on a couple of hours of the session on Wednesday.

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What can this group learn from us? Plenty. Lecture and death by PowerPoint still proliferate here. There is still a strong focus on training as an event—rather than looking at it as a process that starts before any training takes place and continues until we see results in the workplace. There’s a lot of work to be done to improve transfer strategies.

But they clearly demonstrated that they are light years ahead of us in gaining top management support and involvement in the training process. When was the last time your CEO was like this? When was the last time senior management had dinner with a group of trainers and knew what the training was all about and connected the dots between the training being delivered and its impact on business results?

To say I was impressed was an understatement. These two senior people showed up not as a courtesy or as a tactic, but because they sincerely believed that the training and this group of trainers played a key role in helping the organization achieve the significant results they are forecasting for the region. And they both expressed a commitment to the development of people as a core strategy to drive business results. They also have demonstrated their commitment to performance improvement by providing their trainers with the tools and learning opportunities to have the training strategy and results be as good as the products they provide their customers.

So who can you invite to connect with one of your classes? What they say is less important than the fact that they took the time to show up. And it will make a difference to your participants. I’d love to hear what happens when you try this...and if you’re already doing this, I’d love to hear your story. Simply e-mail me at

Until next time—add value and make a difference.

Bob Pike, CSP, CPAE, CPLP Fellow, is known as the “trainer’s trainer.” He is the author of more than 30 books, including “Creative Training Techniques Handbook.” You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook using bobpikectt.

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