A round of applause for Professional Development

No matter how you slice it, learning is learning. Regardless of how the learning takes place (whether you subscribe to the 70:20:10 rule or any other model that takes your fancy). While I personally don't necessarily agree that 70% of learning takes place from experience and only 10% from attending formal training, I do know that further development is extremely important - from both a professional and a personal perspective.

As an experienced Trainer and Facilitator, one thing I have been privileged to is seeing the looks on the faces of participants when they get an 'a-ha' moment during a training session - possibly one of the most satisfying aspects of the job if I might say so.

But there is another equally satisfying aspect of training - learning something myself from the participants. Everyone has something to share, and every session I have ever run has involved me learning something too.

That's what makes facilitation so much fun and so rewarding. The more facilitation that takes place, the more chance there is that all of the participants can learn from each other. Facilitating conversations can encourage this further growth. And attending training sessions and workshops is a very big part of the growth process. So much so, that if you only spend 10% of your time in formal training, you would get a lot more out of an open facilitation session than you might from a lecture.

So it never ceases to amaze me that so many organisations that claim to 'invest heavily in their people' do not encourage enough professional development. It is these companies that have high turnover, serious levels of bullying (unfortunately 'zero tolerance to bullying' is a term used very loosely in some organisations it would seem) and overall unhappy staff that dread going to work. 

I've been lucky this year to have worked with a few key organisations that have invested in their staff, and it is in these companies where you feel the energy and positive vibe from the moment you walk in to the reception area - and this continues to be evident in the training sessions I conduct. When going around the room and doing the introductions, and 90% of the staff attending have been with the company for more than 5 years, you know you're working with a terrific crew. 

The key message here is that companies do not always have to undertake formal training to encourage development of their staff. Focus groups, informal sessions, open conversations, short sessions, half day workshops, webinars and podcasts are just some of the ways in which an organisation can invest in staff, without necessarily having to spend too much.

We should applaud the organisations that really do focus on professional development - whether through regular workshops conducted internally by their own staff, or through outside consultants. It is these companies that have a positive organisational culture that flows right through their own staff to the interactions with their customers