Behavioural Change

What is the problem with traditional training?

How many courses do we attend where the subject matter is precisely what we are looking for, the tutor engages us and we become increasingly excited as we anticipate using the new material back in the workplace? Most of the ones we attend I hope.

 However, how many times do we get back to work only to be met with an Inbox full of emails, a diary full of meetings, staff issues to sort out and any number of crises and opportunities stemming from our clients? Again, most of them I would guess.

The result is that most of what we have learned does not actually find its way into our everyday habits and is lost: wasted investment of time and money. There is a glorious quote by the American psychologist BF Skinner “education is what remains when we forget what we have learned”. In many cases Education, often termed graft in coaching, is very tiny indeed.

Xerox carried out a study of all their business units and found that the graft from their traditional training programmes was as low as 17%. Harold D. Stolovitch, the American educationalist studied over 400 US companies in 2000 and discovered that graft was between 10% and 30% with the biggest distribution around the 10% mark.

 So the bottom line is that traditional “intervention” training where people are sent on a course for a block of time then re-immersed back into their busy working schedule gives a very poor return on investment.

 What Can Be Done To Improve Things?

Imagine two people deciding to learn the piano. They decide to use the same piano teacher and spend the same amount of money on lessons and then at the end of 8 weeks have a “piano-off” to see who the best player is.

 The first person decides to have all their 8 lessons in one day and the second decides to have one a week. Who do you think would be the best? Of course it would be the second player and why? Because they are given small and easy to digest pieces of new learning, something to practice for next lesson that utilises this new learning like a piece of music and some scales and then are listened to and corrected by the teacher at the following lesson.

This approach to learning is what we have used since ancient times. We should be used to it by now: it is how we got though our school years, learnt to play musical instruments, studied new hobbies and any number of other things. So why have we abandoned this tried and tested approach in business, relying instead on the “8 piano lessons in one day” approach? Beats me but in Flair we take a different approach.

 The Principles of Behavioural Change

There are seven principles of behavioural change as listed below:

  1. Only people who have a clear motivation to change should be admitted into the learning programme.
  2. The exposure to the material should be over a prolonged period, ay 6 to 9 months, but should also be very frequent; at least once a week.
  3. The students should be accountable for the changes in behaviour that should result from the new learning.
  4. Each student must rely upon a task management tool, such as Outlook, to ensure that reminders prompt automatically for learning tasks and assignments.
  5. Each piece of new material must have an assignment attached to it for which the student is accountable for, to enable them to experiment and establish new behaviours.
  6. It is crucial that their jobs are seen as part of their overall life.  Seeing work as part of this bigger picture will give a greater incentive to make a permanent change.
  7. Each student should be expected to cascade the new material to other people who are not a part of the programme. This reinforces the new learning, identifies gaps and shares the new approaches to a much wider audience thus improving the returns from the training investment.

The Flair Behavioural Change Framework©

At Flair we have refined our BC framework to support the above principles. We have a number of tools and techniques specially designed to encourage and create a permanent change in our students.

 Should you want to know more about the Flair Behavioural Change Framework then please contact us and we can explore how our techniques could provide you with significantly more bangs for your training bucks.

One comment on “Behavioural Change
  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Alan Kenny. Alan Kenny said: -@docbilos – Useful stuff RT @MSPAmes: Want to know why training doesn't have the effect you want? Check this out […]

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Mike Ames

Passionate about making business development a profession not just a job. Built and sold a £40m group in less than 9 years. Doing it all again and loving it!

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