Many training companies begin with a book.  A thought leader, a researcher, someone with passion and dedication takes their energy and writes a book. They focus on dysfunctional teams, leadership principles or driving sales performance.  So far, so good. 

Then they decide to start a training company, attracted by the both the idea of bringing their knowledge and tasty models to the masses as well as the intellectual property rewards that lay ahead.  Again, all is good. 

Training buyers, for a variety of reasons are attracted to the content:

  • Models offer help quickly and in a way that allows learning professionals to check off something that’s a big, hairy problem on their massive and ever-growing to-do list
  • They genuinely like the book and think it is an “answer” to a performance problem
  • A massive, quick deployment looks possible
  • There is pressure within the organization, “Hey the CEO saw XYZ at a conference, let bring them in. . . .” 

Now all is not good. So what’s the problem?

Well a couple of things. First, there is no relationship between writing a book and designing and delivering valuable adult learning. Second, the book first people genuinely believe that their models and steps are the answer. It’s cookbook thinking. You and your people are the ingredients (eggs, flour, sugar – all commodities). If your leaders, teams and salespeople follow this recipe and you will be satisfied with the results. If it does not work – move on to a new recipe – the next latest and greatest thinking.

While your people may be great ingredients – it’s the recipe (training) that is stale. It’s more of a Betty Crocker off the shelf than a Julia Child recipe. It is not about making a cake – but making a new favorite, a lasting cake.With a boxed cake, you know it won’t be amazing, but at least it will taste like cake. Taking the care and time to bake a cake from scratch – finding all fresh materials and combining by hand – ends up making a new family favorite. Training should be like this. Spending people’s time, and your company’s money is a special occasion and deserves our collective best.

Read about how facilitation skills need to change

Great learning does not start with a model, but an appreciation for the context of the learner and an understanding of their journey. At JMReid Group, we understand the variabilities within your context—corporate culture, strategy, goals, etc. With these elements in mind, we create high-impact, engaging designs that target the behaviors you want to see. Our recipe for great learning includes tapping into the wisdom in the room, engaging the eye, and getting the participants talking. We aim to bake a high-quality experience for your team.

Beware the book first training companies. If you want learning that drives real behavior change, find a learning first company. Leave the book first people on Amazon.

”Cakes have such a terrible habit of turning out bad just when you especially want them to be good.”    

Lucy Maud Montgomery