Here at GBMC, we often get requests for training. We are known for project management consulting and training. When we ask the now famous, Simon Sinek Golden Circle question: Why? (do you want this course) the answer can be, “… the department manager requested a course, so I’m contacting you to deliver it for us.”
While it is flattering to be the trusted provider of training services, the question of why we are doing the training is uppermost in our thinking—our motto is, “Improving performance through project management.” So, if we teach your employees how to manage projects, we believe it will have an impact on business performance.
We feel responsible to executives, boards of directors and shareholders of the organizations we work for. We think in terms of margins, return on capital employed, free cash flow and payback periods.
So the question is, “how do we best link what we do (i.e., training) to what matters most to executives (i.e., financials).” Perhaps you’re asking this question, too. If so, let us offer three thoughts.
Training requires a business case. Ask yourself the why, what and how questions before you decide to train. For training to really make a difference ask, “why would a shareholder see this training as a good idea, what is the specific, measurable problem or opportunity, and how does this relate to financial results of our organization? At GBMC, we call this the AIM of training. What business problem are we trying to solve, or what business opportunity are we attempting to exploit? Is it to improve service, increase revenue, or save/avoid cost? By starting with a quantified problem/opportunity, we will be able to design a training course that pays for itself in bottom line dollars and cents savings. This is a win for everyone.
Training must close a skill or knowledge gap. Require participants and their supervisors to ask: “In six months, where do we need to be?” This requires an assessment of the “as-is” (i.e., current level of competence), and the “to-be”, which is the desired end state. At GBMC, we use the “Assessment Inventory of Project Management SkillsTM”, but you can design your own assessment. The important thing is to have a before and after measurement. This analysis should result in the objectives of the training. What must the learner be able to think, say or do differently after the training? Have clear training objectives.
Training must be reinforced to be sustainable. Ask yourself, “how will the training stick?” We all know that training courses are good excuses for a free lunch or a break from the routine, but what happens after the training is done? Have we insisted on changed behaviors after the course? If so, are the behaviors linked to financially efficient and/or effective results? Accountability and reinforcement lead to changed behaviors and changed behaviors lead to lasting results. At GBMC, we abhor “scrap learning.” It’s wasteful. We recommend rigorous follow up and purposeful reinforcement in the workplace. Sustain the gains.
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