Monday, January 23, 2006

Training as a Cultural Adventure

Participating in training and development programs either as a trainee in the early stages of my business and academic life, or as an instructor when I became more mature and qualified enough to instruct, provided me with an excellent exposure to different cultures. I found out that even when a workshop or a training program had a preset agenda and topics, once the trainees start to interact, the program turns into a very rich cultural and learning experience that ingratiates those of the participants who attended with a spirit to discover new terrains of knowledge.
Therefore, I have always believed that a good instructor will be able to both stimulate and challenge his audience to talk about ‘how’ they would use the knowledge he is giving them when they go back to work rather focusing on seeking as much information as they could have. This application approach is a major step towards ‘learning’. It also draws the line between education and learning. Learning is what organizations should be keen to enhance in their working teams if they wish to get a high return on their investments in training. This brings to the front the issue of selecting the right people to work for us; People who will constitute the intellectual capital of the organization. This particular issue brings to my mind memories of seminars I had attended around the topic of full utilization of human resources.
In the late nineties, I attended a seminar at The International Human Resources Institute in Canada discussing the impact of globalization on the future of the Human Resource profession, and the role it plays to help the management prepare their employees accept the facts of the new age and overcome the resistance to change that the international and multinational companies are going to face. The seminar was attended by top management and Human Resources professional representing leading organizations in almost all walks of business.
Most of the senior management speakers blamed the Human Resources in their organizations for the slow reaction to their demands, and their inability to cope with the required changes in both people and systems to become competitive. Consequently, a flood of questions came to my mind about what organizations should do to match their escalating demands of the Human Resources. Certainly, feasible methods to enhance the effectiveness of Human Resources plans are needed, otherwise these plans will amount to nothing but colorful binders that decorate executive shelves, reminding everyone that looks at them of unfulfilled dreams and abandoned targets.