Does anyone else feel like they are banging their heads against a brick wall?

Hi all,


Over the past 4 years we have developed the now Training and Coaching department and managed a slow buy in of Training and Coaching from our call centre supervisory team.  However yesterday, the wall hit hard when a colleague asked why they had to compelete effectiveness for a course.  To top it off the sentence 'if the training and coaching department want it, why shouldn't they do it' sprung from the persons lips.  I was mortified.


It clearly confirmed in my mind, that some people managers, just don't want to manage people and aren't interested in their staff development, so whay are they managers and what do they do with their time?


Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can create a lightbulb moment for these people?


Thanks in advance,



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The good thing about brick walls is that eventually they crumble. Try banging your head against a Granite pillar! I know how you feel.

I think the best approach is to get all training included within Key Performance Indicators, in that a percentage of training has to be completed for departments to reach their goals, but it can be equally head wrecking to get this achieved. You have to remember that managers are only interested in what makes them look good when their departments performance is evaluated.

Managers also seem to like meetings ( an awful lot), so you could set up a meeting to promote your department, and highlighting the benefits of the work your doing.

Alternatively you could create a course/video that has a hard hitting message to promote the work your doing.

The bottom line though is that it has to be driven from above and included within the targets for each department.
Hi Tim,

I'm afraid I disagree with your comment that "the best approach is to get all training included within Key Performance Indicators, in that a percentage of training has to be completed for departments to reach their goals..."

All that does is take us down the same road as we've been doing for years, where training/learning is seen as an imposition not a benefit. The amount of "training completed" bears no relationship to the organisation's real business needs (eg. selling more stuff, providing a better service etc).

As you rightly say "managers are only interested in what makes them look good when their departments performance is evaluated." That's absolutely true - and so it should be. And if the L&D department can't help them do that, then the L&D department should be severely pruned!

I agree, though, that L&D can often do a far better job of marketing their services - but that also involves really getting to grips with where managers and departments need help. It's about looking at performance improvement from a wider perspective than just training.


Yes, nice comment Mark re "The amount of "training completed" bears no relationship to the organisation's real business needs".

The only exception I could think of is where an organsiation or individual is very resistant to training and there is very little investment, e.g in professional service firms where 1 hour of training equals 1 hour of unbilled fees. In this case, I wonder if the first necessary step before demonstrating training's business value is to increase the amount of training in KPIs even if there is some/a lot of wastage involved. I say this very cautiously because I know it is counter-culture in today's L&D conversations, but if you have an organisation that values short term production over longer term investment like training, you first need to lead the horse to water so that there is at least a chance of some learning happening. Over time, you would then introduce the idea that bums on seats does not equal value added, but at least you have planted some seeds (albeit quite sick seeds).
Hi Philip,

I take your point. We need a bit of psychology to generate the self-motivation to participate in learning.

There needs to be some sort of external motivating factor in the first place - whether promotion, pay rise, recognition. It needs to be a carrot, rather than a stick though otherwise you'll be working with resistant learners.



I see your point, but we constantly get stuck were e-lessons are formally only taken up if they are set as part of an agenda, KPI. That being said we do use both methods, we have open sites where e-lessons and videos can be watched on a voluntary basis, which seems to work well, and a LMS which is used to track formal training via e-lessons and video.

I shall take a view from where I could work perhaps from a performance improvement perspective. Thanks.

Hi all,

Thanks for all of your advice. Its good to know that others out there have come across this or are dealing with it too.

My mind also went along the lines of the incentiving our managers to be more proactive in the want to develop their staff. It is mainly our middle mangement staff that have trouble at this time.

It's great as the past four years they have have taken reposnibility for a lot of training and development 'stuff'. It seems now that they are happy to attend, and for their staff to attend training, to fill in a feedback forms, but not help gather the effectiveness information we need to ensure the training has worked. I guess this is just another milestone that I need to educate them on as a lot of them may not understand why we have to collate this information.

I know that you cannot collate the effectiveness infromation from each and every course, as some training you just can't measure, but infromation that relates directly back to Business Strategy and KPI's, in my mind, should be completed.

Thanks again,

Hi Daniel,

One route we're adopting is to use a survey tool (like SurveyGizmo or SurveyMonkey), to try to make collecting information as painless as possible.

Even so, that won't work unless the managers are really talking to their teams and monitoring performance. I know I sound like a broken record at times, but the Manager Tools approach is fantastic on this. They have a management model that puts one-to-ones, feedback and coaching right at the centre of what a manager does. It's this that then drives everything else.

Thanks again Mark,

I'll have a look at that. I'm in the process of having our own Learning Mangement System created (just in a first testing stage). Is the Manager tool system something we could link into - do you know?

We currently use SurveyMonkey too - it's so much easier.

Managers Tools is just a series of podcasts (20-25 minutes audio conversations - each about a specific management issue). Very easy to link into. And an amazing resource.

Happy to help in any way.

This problem is an age old one. Proven solutions in two organisations I worked in at a senior level (LTSB,PWC) is reporting measurement. Numbers make managers excited (and competetive). Also the evidence from our current research at Towards Maturity is that reporting on metrics really improves the business impact of learning. Of course you must be collecting information that managers and their bosses want to knowq about. Given your example: is "effectiveness for a course" a metric you report to senior executives and are they interested. If the answer is no and no the brick wall will never move.
Ideally a carrot and stick approach needs to be implemented. However, the 'stick' should not be # of training hours delivered, but rather the views of the individuals as to whether they are getting the development opportunities and resources they think they need. If this can be captured at team level, then it can be very actionable if analysis is done of poor performance in this area to identify where the issue lies (e.g. effective resources not available, my line manager won't let me spend time on development, I don't know where to find the resources) and implement an appropriate solution.

Once mgrs realise they are measured on this because it is a key part of their role that can improve the performance of their team (the 'carrot'), then generally they will want to get involved.
I have sat on both sides of the fence with this one, as a manager and a trainer trying to deliver. I would agree with those who advocated the KPI route. As a manager I need to know how it will generate better performance and fancy language won't work. Show a means of measuring the impact and I can work with it. This is something that has now been picked up on with the governments training and quality standard, show a measurable return for the training given.

Best of luck



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