Why Training and Consultancy still do not work? LO28637

From: Jan Lelie (janlelie@wxs.nl)
Date: 05/28/02

Replying to LO28631 --

Dear 'n'''w, r'''e's,

I do not know why T&C still not work. When i was young and un(in)formed -
hmmm, is outformation everything you do not know? - i read an article
authorized by one Chris Argyris, who had written:

"learning in order to control behaviour, inhibts learning"

and i thought, "what's new?".

The problem of course is that much learning (aka teaching) is directed at
changing behaviour of others. In organisations many people are send to
training or receive consultancy as indicated by management with the assumption
that they (the people send) will change their behaviour to perform better for
the management and/or organisation. Sometimes under the pretext that it is
better for ourselves. (If it was, why didn't we think of it?) We have been
there before. It was called (high) school: there we learned to go through the
motions of following lessons without learning. We needed the grades, that was
clear, so we tried to get our results with as little as change in behaviour as
possible. The system seemed designed to learn how to have fun of making fun of
teachers - and parents. In organisations, the resulting behaviour is
resistance to learning and the training is used to get to know other people,
socialize, have a drink and fun. Just like (high)school.

(Anecdote: one time i was send to a corporate training of week during a period
of economic downfall (like now), so the CEO ruled that the training should
continu - it was too late to be cancelled -, but we were not allowed to have
diner, stay in the bar or to sleep over, unless we had to travel more than 100
km (in The Netherlands (!)) The other option was to pay for the stay yourself.
And, to add injury to insult: except on Tuesday, when the CEO would give a
presentation on corporate policies, which would be closed with an informal (!)
drink. True, i swear. There was an outrage, but it went like that. As i had to
travel more than 100 km, unlike my collegeas, i spend the evening getting to
know employees from other companies. This happened, in real life).

In my view the first problem is in the sending. "I love to learn, but I hate
being taught" A manager should under no condition send somebody to a training.
And when (s)he does - there are exceptions to every rule - , (s)he should be
there too, perhaps even conduct some parts of the training. When i was a
production manager i always went too, joined and we would close with a meal
and a drink.

As a consultant i worked mainly "on the floor". I tried to get a desk on the
factory floor or with the department i worked with and consulted "real-time".
The real training before, in between and after the formal hours. And even
then, the training or lesson will only work when the pupil is ready.

A second problem is that an organisation doesn't want to learn, is unable to
learn, is against learning. Organisations are institutions designed to
preserve the status quo. (- I do think that organisations learn, by the way -
but it is unintentionally, against their better knowledge and against their
will - ). Explicitely it will tell everybody that learning is important,
valued, crucial, that people are the most important resource. But implicitely
- captain subtext - this is more often than not not the case. Perhaps you've
noticed that in many instances training, coaching, intervision, support,
counselling, what have you, is treated as an extra benefit. It is a kind of
luxury, showing "how good" we are for "our people". Or there is a fixed budget
for a department or a functiongroup on training. A budget that can vapourize
when the balanced sheet needs balancing. And - o yeah - these processes are
covered up and the cover-up is covered up.

The other day i attended a seminar - out of free choice - on the complicated
reasoning that is used in organisations to state one thing and do another AND
hide that there is a difference between the two. In fact, this behaviour of
people in an organisation is very complex (including playing dumb, denying
facts, insinuating rationality as a part of irrationality, seeming friendly
while being extremely hostile etc), tacit (there were no written rules, the
researcher had to compile a list of unwritten rules to explain results,
unwritten rules like "information from certain sources is no information", p
= p = p and therefore p is true, how some things are true and can be declared
not relevant) and INdependent of any individual. The investigator concluded
that this game of Mystification has its own rules, logic and rationality, is
epidemic and goes almost unnoted. At the moment, there seems to be no
psychological theory to explain this.

I'll be back,

Jan Lelie

Andrew Wong wrote:

> I received enquiries from individuals on
> "Learning to Produce Business Results at the WorkPlace -
> (Why Training and Consultancy still do not work?)"
> An artilce at my webpage http://www.360q.com
> meant for Community of QuaSyLaTic members.
> The artilce is also available at
> http://www.swapsmarts.com/QuaSyLaTic
> The background of the article ...
> I work in a large corporation, hence a recipient of many training and
> consultancy programs. As an insider and a keen organisation observer and
> systems thinker, I am in touch with the "real world" (usually at corridors
> or coffer corners) before, during and after the training and consultancy
> programs.
> For the past years, I worked as a management trainer and learning
> facilitator, mindful of the "real world" out there. Carrying out research,
> experimentation, I design learning programs at workplace and I make
> observation and reflection of their effects on people and workplace
> environment. Many of my own learning are posted at http://www.360q.com,
> hence my own reflection corner and knowledge depository system.
> I am keen to hear from the Community of LO your views on the above
> subject. The theme suggests the premise that training and consultancy does
> not produce the intended organisation goals in most cases. Maybe your have
> differenct views and experiences.

With kind regards - met vriendelijke groeten,

Jan Lelie

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