Prior to stting up Power Hour, most of my experience as a trainer was in manufacturing, supply chain, construction and retail. Good, honest industries that have tight profit margins and rely on things happening in a predicatable manner. through this work I've been exposed to LEAN, TQM and JIT...tried and tested methods that deliver results in demanding environments where the difference between success and failure can be very small.
As I've moved into other arenas such as financial services, other service providers, telecommunications etc, I've noticed that for training at least, some of these principles still add value.
Take Just-In-Time - the basic principle is that you don't hold stock, which reduces waste and the amount of storage space needed, thus reducing costs. It is about having “the right material, at the right time, at the right place, and in the exact amount” (Ryan Grabosky).
If we train people in the same way i.e. by providing them with the skills they need, at the time that they need them (not 3 months in advance), in a location that is realistic (such as their own working environment), and by the right amount (just enough for what they need to implement), then training has a very real and practical impact. It's all about transfer of learning - Give people what they need, when they need it and make sure that they can apply that learning quickly and hey presto - you see a difference.
Training for performance management is a great example of this - 3 months before the formal appraisals are due, train people how to prepare for them. Two weeks before, train them how to run appraisals. It's fresh in the mind, the training is seen as relevant (so fewer people are likley to opt out) and it is immediately applicable to the business.
OK, for some areas, this philosophy won't work.... with senior managers who need to develop 'ethical' leadership or learn political influencing for example, as it is almost impossible to identify when the next opportunity to apply the learning will occur. But for many people lower down the organisation, training can be planned in a 'just-in-time' way, and short training sessions, like Power Hour sessions, can really help to make the training manageable.
Why not check out our 22 topics to see which ones would add value 'just-in-time'?