One size... does not fit all!


The fast pace of the 21st Century has turned us into impatient consumers who expect that "off the shelf, ready-made, one-size-fits-all' solutions will be the answer to our challenges. The fast-lane living of instant coffee, drive-thru take-aways, microwave heating and disposable this-that-and-the-other, have polluted our realization that some things are just better when it?s done the old fashioned, slower way (red wine analogy!). Like in all aspects of society, this is true for the training fraternity as well.

The invitation to customize training is freely advertised by virtually all training providers. Why then is this option not fully utilized? A possible answer could be that quick-fixes are sought - perhaps because there is just not enough time (and possibly energy?) available to be involved in a customized intervention.

If speed and cost are the only factors taken into account, then the "one-size-fits-all' approach is the answer, but if other factors such as added value, contextualized practical application and maximized learning are taken into account then the preferred choice training intervention should be that of customization.

At MDC we believe that the real value of training for a learning organization lies in the following customized options:

? Contextualized content in order to make the theoretical information "come alive'.

? Use of examples / case studies that have direct reference to the specific company / industry. This will not only stimulate interest and debate, but also create a "safe environment' where adults will feel free to participate as they are not intimidated by theoretical information.

? Exploring different evaluation strategies in order to ensure that learners are engaged in activities that will not only result in a "competent' rating, but will also provide valuable information that can be used by the learning organization.

? Development of a schedule that will take the following variables into consideration:

o Time away from operations

o Impact on private life of delegate

o Attention span / cognitive abilities of specific group

o Time required for doing practical assignments and/or gathering information for portfolios.

o Budget time frame - schedules / invoices can be split in order to capitalize on present and future budgets

? Involvement in the training intervention by various levels of managers / leaders to obtain their support for the intervention; to obtain their input in terms of content / context / approach and to obtain their involvement in terms of guidance and mentoring.

When instant solutions do not result in a fast and big enough impact, the decision is often to "cut the losses' and move on to a "new beginning' (another training provider). We do this because we have all been conditioned that if something is broken, we must "throw it away' as the cost of replacement is often less than the cost to repair - and so the cycle starts all over again.

So, let?s avoid wasting time and money by remembering: For the best fit... "one-size-does-not-always-fit-all'!!