Follow through to get the bang for your training buck

© Jgroup |

© Jgroup |

One semester in middle school, we had the option of taking a bowling class for gym. And I remember clearly, as my ball headed into the gutter time after time—the instructor kept harping on one thing: “Be sure to follow through.”

Follow through? Why? It never made a lick of sense to me. Once the ball is out of my hands, what difference does it make what my arm does?

Finally I got sick of scoring in the low peanuts every game and thought I’d try it. I let the ball go and allowed my arm to continue in a perfect arc.

I can still hear the sound of that strike.

According to the American Society for Training & Development’s Benchmarking Forum, the average annual expenditure per employee on training was $1424 in 2005 (the last year of complete data). But the most successful and productive companies invest $1616 per employee.

Coincidence? You wish. Training provides the best ROI of any investment you can make in your business, period. But there’s something else those high-performing companies do—they follow through after the training is complete. The best way to get results from your training dollars is to expect and measure immediate application of what is learned. Measurement and celebration of the results from the training program need to start within 24 hours of a session or the application of the learned material drops like a stone.

When you work with a training consultant, make sure they don’t pull up stakes and head for the hills five minutes after the last session is over. Good training ALWAYS includes a specific, detailed follow-up plan—or it’s not training. It’s flushing.

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