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Eight pitfalls of corporate training programs in Pakistan | Wali Zahid


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Full article by Wali Zahid here:

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Eight pitfalls of corporate training programs in Pakistan | Wali Zahid

  1. 1. Content: Wali Zahid Futurist, business leadership, C-Level coach, CEO. Skill City | Graphics/Design: Mehreen Shafique Expert Training & Facilitation, JAZZ ONE TWO THREE FOUR FIVE SIX SEVEN EIGHT Eight pitfalls of corporate training programs in Pakistan and what to do about them?
  2. 2. ONE TWO THREE FOUR FIVE SIX Equating trivia with skill Similar trivial activities in the name of teaching you skills like • Teamwork • Leadership • Communication skills to the extent that these activities became the folk stories of training fraternity  Regular trainees attending different courses probably will undergo a similar activity by different trainers on different topics within the same year  Dividing line between:  Trivia  Training activity  Training and  Entertaining is blurred Skill is a hardcore but mundane thing and requires endless hours of deliberate practice. When we make this skill trivial and apparently fun, it loses its core. Hence, our organizations do not produce inspiring people managers or skilled executioners who help ordinary organizations to produce world-class products like an iPhone or a Toyota Corolla. SEVEN EIGHT
  3. 3. ONE TWO THREE FOUR FIVE SIX Physical activities vs cognitive learning This is related to earlier point but needs a separate mention.  Most learning happens at cognitive/conceptual level  We need energy to learn a new skill  When energy is drained by high-energy physical activities in training courses all you get is:  blank looks at the end of training day,  a hangover, and  a flurry of photo-sharing and tagging on Facebook  This is more acute when we organize out-bound or resort- based residential training and go to extensive lengths to create that team bonding.  Bonding may occur, but not the skill or teamwork that you require every day in mundane workplace conditions. SEVEN EIGHT
  4. 4. ONE TWO THREE FOUR FIVE SIX Use of emotive appeal Another curse we see is use of overly emotive appeal, particularly during motivational training or speaking sessions. No doubt that we respond to emotive appeal more than we respond to rational appeal. But that doesn’t mean that trainer overly uses emotive content in order to motivate you. Questionable stories, poetic verses, quotations from notable people are used to arouse participants. This is such a waste of time and money. Your employees are aroused by a trainer with a gift of gab and armed with quotes, poetry, one-liners, they come back to work the next day and it’s the same boring routine again. You can save this money and employee time by asking people to watch a 5-minute motivational clip on YouTube (they upload something new every day!) during work hours. Same effect. SEVEN EIGHT
  5. 5. ONE TWO THREE FOUR FIVE SIX SEVEN EIGHT Lower level vs higher level at Bloom scale Most of our training programs are lower-level providing baseline knowledge. As per Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning, there are six levels of learning: 1 Knowledge 2 Comprehension 3 Application 4 Analysis 5 Synthesis 6 Evaluation If you analyze 100 training courses from various providers - poor to some great names - 9 out of 10 will be in Levels 1 or 2. The tenth may be Level 3 Application course. Now, economies do not produce value-added goods if their trainings are Level 1-3. The training programs and their learning outcomes need to be Level-3-upward. In order to create world-class products or processes you need your employees to use analysis and evaluation competences and create new breakthroughs (synthesis level).
  6. 6. ONE TWO THREE FOUR FIVE SIX SEVEN EIGHT Obsolete knowledge and old models  Using training models that were made in the 1980’s or 1990’s • Generation Y - 24/7 connected to smartphones and Wi-Fi will not even remember the list of important 14 points a minute after they walk out of that venue gate  Not using newer effective models  Every year, some bright academic or trainer comes up with a newer model which captures the same essence, but with more relevance to Gen Y which can be picked up and replaced with your old model  Another related negligence is using obsolete data  Not adopting the simple tips such as presentation skills TED changed everything. So, if you are still using a model speaker with jacket and tie, who with a straight chest-out posture and using an animated 6×6 PowerPoint, dazzles zombie audience, you are living in 1990s. Similarly, the email of 1990s, 2000s and 2020s are altogether different in their style, tone and wording.
  7. 7. ONE TWO THREE FOUR FIVE SIX SEVEN EIGHT Still, content-based and trainer-led Training programs are still content-based as opposed to process-based learning experiences. Also, they are trainer-led as opposed to learner-centred. In the Google era, knowledge is cheap and fast. With a touch of a button, you can get a precise action list or dataset that can help you in your job. Other than employee time, no cost is involved. On the contrary, training is a very expensive activity - trainer fee, venue expenses, meals, learner time, learner absence from work, learner travel & accommodation, etc. So, if you get the same information from a training course as clicking a website, in any cost-benefit analysis training programs will not stand the ground. So, what can a training programs do that a Google search can’t? The active learning process. The process of arriving at context-specific solutions by the learners themselves where trainer role is merely of a facilitator, like an engineer on call. If this process is collaborative and facilitated well, peer learning happens and lasting peer relationships are formed.
  8. 8. ONE TWO THREE FOUR FIVE SIX 8M Add Some Brief Text Here to Explain 6M Add Some Brief Text Here to Explain 7M Add Some Brief Text Here to Explain SEVEN EIGHT Lack of contextual goals I have seen very little evidence that trainers either know where Pakistan economy is heading (e.g. 15th largest in 2050) or communicate this to their trainees. In the absence of contextual landscape:  How can an employee be motivated to perform at optimal level?  Why would they get a kick?  Not just country economy data, do you bring industry or market context into your training? Do you tell them: • What are they doing right in Indonesia (No. 4 economy in 2050 by GDP PPP)? • How do workforce conditions differ in India or in similar geographies like Pakistan? • Or within the country market, why is one pharma MNC having 50% growth while everyone else is just having a single-digit growth? Context would also filter out some of the often-used models like SMART goal-setting method, because that’s for the innocent. Companies in a hyper growing economy like Pakistan might need to follow Jim Collins’ BHAGs method or Nike’s ‘Crush Addidas’ mantra.
  9. 9. ONE TWO THREE FOUR FIVE SIX 8M Add Some Brief Text Here to Explain 6M Add Some Brief Text Here to Explain 7M Add Some Brief Text Here to Explain SEVEN EIGHT The uneducated client The client in Pakistan - even the best amongst us - is hardly an educated consumer or a demanding customer. Even when they say they are quality-conscious and very demanding, they are not. Trainers are usually given or requested a course title that they want him or her to deliver to their organization rather than coming up with the LNA (learning needs analysis). Which means it’s the same leadership course which is getting delivered to a hyper-growth FMCG MNC and a struggling local enterprise or a decayed public-sector organization. In order NOT to do that, we must dig information about their specific leadership challenges. Another thing that borders criminal negligence is the client’s finding comfort in feel-good positive workshop evaluations over serious learning outcomes during training. Both may not be the same. In fact, training is an anxiety-inducing activity. Real learning means people becoming uncomfortable with status quo, with themselves, their current practices. Sometimes that may mean temporary loss of self-confidence. Which is acceptable.
  10. 10. What to do?
  11. 11. reverse the eight pitfalls Easy, isn’t it? Just
  12. 12. STEP 3 STEP 2 STEP 1 Develop skill- specific training activities Don’t drain their energies that no room left for cognitive learning Use a mix of rational and emotive appeals STEP 4 Ask your training provider to deliver Bloom level 3 upwards learning outcomes s
  13. 13. STEP 7 STEP 6 STEP 5 Update your training models and training content Make it learner- centred and an active learning process Provide contextual landscape STEP 8 Become an educated and demanding training consumer
  14. 14. Please click here to access full article or visit
  15. 15. 01 02 Content: Wali Zahid CEO, Skill City Futurist, business leadership, C-Level coach Graphics/Design: Mehreen Shafique Expert Training & Facilitation, JAZZ Content developer, Trainer
  16. 16. Thank you