Bill Westfall is a great leadership trainer based out of Indiana and I have the pleasure and the privilege of spending time with Bill a few times a year.One of the core items in his training is The Leadership Test. The test is this:
Are you doing:
- The right thing.
- At the right time.
- In the right way.
- For the right reason.
This is a great guideline for all leaders and is very applicable to trainers. As a trainer you are in a leadership position and need to find ways to apply the Leadership Test to your training.
The Right Thing – Start by asking yourself if you are doing the right thing for the learners in your classes. Are you teaching information and tactics that are current and relevant? Is the material appropriate for the audience? Does it challenge them to learn and to improve? Are you doing what is right or are you doing what is expedient? Are you doing what is right or are you doing what is popular? Reexamine the drills and scenarios your are using. Make sure you know what the learning objectives are and ask yourself if you are accomplishing those learning objectives. If the answer is no, then examine your program and determine what changes need to be made. The easy way out is to blame the students for not getting it. The right way is to examine the program and how we deliver the material.
The Right Time – What about the timing of the material? Is it designed to great the best learning environment? Have you looked at the sequence of the material you teach and the placement of material in the overall curriculum? How does what you are teaching mesh with the material being delivered by other instructors in the program? If the timing of delivery based on what’s best for the participants or what is easiest for the instructors?
The Right Way – Are you continually exploring new and better ways to deliver the material? Are you providing the opportunity to train in context as much as possible? Are you allowing the learners to solve problems and make decisions in your training? Are you ensuring participants have the opportunity to articulate their decision in the training environment? Are you continually seeking to understand adult learning theory and determine how it is best applied in the areas you teach? Are you seeking feedback from the participants as to what you did well, and what you could do to improve the sessions? Are you incorporating any of that feedback to improve the training for future classes? Are you focused on contextual based training or are you locked into creating ‘stress’ in your training with the mistaken belief that stress is the key to effective training?
The Right Reasons – Begin by asking yourself why you became a trainer. Was it to help others develop the competence and confidence they need to be most successful in their job? Was it to make positive changes to the training curriculum and training environment? Was it to create a positive learning environment for the learners in your program? Was it to allow you to grow and develop while helping others do the same? Or was it to build your package, to get off shift work, to show others how good you were, to ‘weed out’ those who don’t have what it takes, or some other less desirable motivation? Are you using punishment in your training in an attempt to influence behavior? If so ask yourself why. Is it because it has been shown to most effectively effect positive, long term changes in behavior, or is it because “that is the way you have always done it”, or “that is the way it was when you went through training”?
This is a brief insight into how the leadership test can be applied to training. Take the time to explore the test and determine how you can apply it to your training program.