How to get the best out of your training budget

Well-intentioned but poorly thought out training programs can actually wind up demoralizing employees instead of empowering them.

Consider the young man who was terrible in interview situations. He was sent to a course in the hopes of improving his abilities but came out of the class just as bad as he was before he went into it. At this point, some companies might’ve given some thought to showing him the door, but this young man was different. He was one of the greatest Formula One drivers in the world. He was positively oozing talent. That talent just didn’t happen to be giving interviews.

In general, it is a mistake to use remedial training in the hopes of awakening a talent that an employee has never shown signs of in the first place. In fact, it’s almost certain to be a waste of time and money, not to mention a source of frustration for everyone involved. A far better strategy is to identify the talents in individual employees and then tailor their training to build on the strengths they already possess.

If you really want to take the wind out of the sails of your employees, assign them tasks they aren’t good at and don’t enjoy. It’s a guaranteed lose-lose. On the other hand, if you want to create an atmosphere of excellence and achievement, find what people are good at and then help them to get even better. Now that’s a win-win.