ARE there any people-related problems your company faces?

Shy salespersons who shiver at making cold calls to big corporations? Unassertive managers who lead badly in the organisation? Poor speakers who project a bad corporate image in public presentation?

Training - both formal and informal - can correct the gap between the the present realities and the desired standards.

To keep abreast of changes in technology, business and organisational methods and stay competitive, companies need to invest in regular training for staff.

If you think training is expensive, work out how much your company will lose by not sending your staff for training. The initial challenge is to identify the target area for training. Then sell training to the management.

Training increases productivity, quality, motivation and profits. It reduce staff turnover, accidents and lost time.

Training changes the attitudes of your staff. There is positive return on investment (ROI) in training.

Learning organisation

A progressive corporation is a learning organisation. There is no failure, only experiences which staff can learn from.

A learning organisation is responsive to customers' needs and supports development of staff at every level. There are ample opportunities for staff to learn.

Peter Senge, author of Five Disciplines For Learning Organisations, lists five characteristics of a learning organisation:

* Systemic thinking

* Team learning

* Mental models

* Shared vision

* Personal mastery

A learning organisation invests in training and development. Training covers knowledge, skills and values. A good training programme is designed to keep participants motivated to learn all the time.

The transfer of learning occurs from the trainer to the workshop participants.

Effective training touches on the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual levels of all participants. Training incorporates both theoretical content and real-life experiences.

The trainer

For training to be successful, both the trainer and the participants must contribute by giving and receiving.

One of the training objectives is attitudinal change and participants must open their minds to embrace change.

Training must strive to achieve the learning outcome the workshop is designed for.

The trainer is the pivotal factor in the success of the workshop.

An effective trainer is passionate about the subject matter and is able to translate complicated theories into simple concepts. He has high emotional intelligence, confidence and a sense of humour.

He has the ability to get learners involved and to handle difficult participants.

A good trainer employs a variety of teaching techniques to cater for the various learning styles and experiences of the participants.

Adult learning

In an organisation, all staff learn by andragogy (adult learning). In an andragogic environment, participants initiate their own learning and are self-directed in the learning process.

They make the decision to get involved in learning, identify their own resources and learning methods and evaluate their own progress.

Adult learners desire practical answers to problems in the corporate world. As such, all training materials must be related to the participants' experiences.

Adult participants learn by getting involved and consulted. Confucius once remarked: "I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand."

Involve participants at every given opportunity through games, case studies, discussion and role plays.

They like to be treated as your co-equals. So treat them with respect.

Listen actively to their questions and respond accordingly and patiently.

Adults learn at different paces, so a trainer must exercise flexibility to accommodate the different learning rates.