You can't have the same training in half the time. You can’t. But you can have better training in half the time. Getting to better training in half the time will certainly include design choices. But better training also requires a communication strategy at the outset that sets you up to develop better solutions. My Five A’s model will get you there; and, this article will address the first of the A’s – Appreciate.
Let’s put the first A into context by taking a look at the 10,000-feet view of the model that I detail in Same Training, Half the Time:
Step 1: Appreciate
Training is expendable. That may be difficult to accept, but it is true. Internal training teams are commonly a cost center, external consultants are an expense, learning events create opportunity costs by taking employees away from performing their jobs, and many courses and classes create no measurable improvement in performance. You can likely add your own reasons why training has been classified as expendable from your experience.
For all these reasons, every time you receive a request to provide a learning solution, be thankful and begin your meeting by expressing your gratitude. It is helpful to keep in mind that the training sponsors had a choice, and they chose to consider training as vital.
To show your appreciation for being asked to help, consider which of the following statements is appropriate to your situation.
The Appreciate step is about two forms of appreciation though—both gratitude and understanding. Having expressed a genuine statement of gratitude, you will want to learn as much as you can about what the requester envisions to develop your understanding – appreciation – of her mindset. Doing so will position you to inject Acknowledge, the next A, into the discussion. Gather information to develop your awareness with broad questions, such as:
As needed, ask clarifying questions in this segment of your discussion. What other questions will you add to this list? (Share them as a comment, below.)
Only with a solid appreciation of the thought processes and events that led to the request, will you be ready to integrate Acknowledge into the discussion and then transition to Ask, and the remaining A’s.
It sounds incredibly simple here and yet, in my experience, the two halves of Appreciate are rarely where scoping conversations begin. Set yourself apart by starting at the beginning; and in doing so, set yourself – and your project – up for success!
For more on Appreciate as well as guidance on the four remaining A’s, worked examples of five scenarios, and worksheets for planning your use of the Five A’s on your next project, check out Same Training, Half the Time.
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