Reimagining Training and Development, Part II: Big Blue Oceans

NL 45 Blue Oceans

Iman Fiqrie

Iman Fiqrie

by

Iman Fiqrie, Lecturer Malaysian Maritime Academy,
@William E Hamilton, LCDR USN, retired; A.A, B.S., M.B.A.

“Be bold enough to use your voice, brave enough to listen to your heart, and strong enough to live the life you’ve always imagined” – Keller Williams, MAPPS.

This article is a continuation part I;

Reimagining Training and Development: Learning and Talent Development, Talent Management and Enterprise Learning Networks.

Red and Blue Oceans Strategy

There’s such a thing as Red Ocean (ROS) and Blue Ocean Strategy (BOS), Figure 1 refers, it’s a game changer that essentially asks whether an organization will continue doing the same mediocre things (ROS) or will it create uncontested market space, make the competition irrelevant in the pursuit of valuation, differentiation and low costs (BOS); essentially, embrace the paradigm shift in
front of it!

Red vs Blue Oceans

Red vs Blue Oceans

Training and Development Transformed by Blue Oceans

Training and Development, hereafter transformed as Talent Development (TD); The objective in part II’s article is to persuade TD professionals in the maritime industry to broaden the current scope of the training profession to encompass talent development and management– inclusive of human performance improvement (HPI), for the purpose of realizing the organization’s desired business results. This is the relatively new, real and relevant scope of the TD professional today– not just creating and delivering training. The literature suggests that “training as a solution,” is often the costliest and most often prescribed solution for a business when things go wrong, while it may indeed remedy the specific training deficiency in question, more than 80% of the time it doesn’t actually fix the problem (e.g., organizational or process level problems) affecting the business results as unsystematic training solutions have little underpinnings in TD professional methodology and results! Interestingly, current indiscriminate training development practices may surprisingly have their roots deep in the business cycle economics of the 1980s.

Talent Development Impetus

According to Biech (2014), the 1980s were the impetus for reduced training budgets and focus on ROI as productivity in the U.S. slowed, followed by downsizing as managers found themselves without jobs (Chpt 1). Also according to Biech (2014), this was also a time when many women entered the field; the nature and form of training changed– assertiveness training, teamwork, diversity, corporate and trainer competency training became the order of the day
(Chpt 1). However, as mentioned in part 1 and Globalmet Newsletter 44, at its very core—TD today centers on enabling individuals and businesses to perform; and in the broader scope of HPI and change management encompasses three levels— organization, process and worker/performer; due consideration of which could
translate into a potential upside in business performance of up to 10 times current value waiting to be realized. Those appreciative of the potential BOS would wholeheartedly embrace the new game changing TD professional framework and practices.

Talent Development as a holistic approach

Rather than just see a business issue (e.g., unrealized revenue) as an apparent knowledge or skill gap (which there may well be) e.g., a training opportunity for the sales division which has been turning in abysmal results of late– the TD professional would illuminate the holistic human performance issues affecting important business drivers and outcomes. Even given an apparent training solution and direction from executive stakeholders, i.e., have training on prospecting new clients, make more cold calls and visits– the TD professional should understand the necessity for a business analysis in the context of HPI which, among other things, includes determination of the business goals, its relation to the current performance and subsequent prescribed solutions. The TD professional would
also ensure a systematic process insulated from the pressures others may be feeling to arrive at a number of methodically prescribed solutions. Anything else would have to be noted, discussed and signed off by relevant stakeholders as such, as not in alignment with the best interests of the business (given the data). Otherwise the TD professional might end up a scapegoat for failed business results. More importantly, failing the proper TD process can waste precious resources on initiatives that make little or no difference towards the organization and its longevity.

For example, there are techniques like Rapid Instructional Design (RID) that are just variants of the “gold” ADDIE process TD professionals might be tempted to use in a time crunch. These short sighted fixes probably won’t fix the real problem.

Proper assessment schemes for Talent Development

Even if the client’s conversation forcedly shifts towards developing a “training solution,” that process may still be short circuited as the full ADDIE process is often not followed that well because of its tedious process. For example, the process
includes initial analysis (the first letter in ADDIE), follow up initial meetings, communication frameworks, time lines, deliverables and constraints (SME, people and data access), due consideration given to how training objectives were obtained
in the first place and tied correctly to the proper assessment scheme; is delivery developed using adult learning schemes and the latest learning styles for implementation and evaluation that must also be done? There’s no short cut for the TD Professional. It is any wonder that issues in an organization still linger years after multiple solutions have apparently already been taken? It may even be that the business goals, vision and mission themselves are not realistic or attainable? How does that conversation go with organizational stakeholders?

The reality of daily Talent and Development processes

In conclusion, most of us in the business of training see the daily realities of the process and short fused training initiatives designed solely for the purposes of revenue and KPI generation; you get what you pay for. My father always used to tell me when I was in a hurry, “… son, if you left home in time enough to get
where you were going – you wouldn’t be in a hurry.” Maybe MET could use similar advice and if the organization doesn’t have the expertise internally—then consultation with certified TD professionals may be in order. Certification ensures the “professionals” one is dealing with are qualified in the areas of concern – a certified professional in TD should be certified in e.g., at least 10 areas expertise and have foundation knowledge in several areas like business skills, global mindset, technical literacy, to name a few. Of course there is also the matter of
local requirements like the Train the Trainer Course 6.09 – also falling short of the aforementioned. There are lots of examples in which one wouldn’t take something of significant value (say a ship, e.g.,) in need of fixing or repair and bring it to a less than qualified repairmen or ship yard. This seems obvious, yet in both the shipping industry and MET it seems doing so is no problem when it comes to training – even in today’s technically complex and fast changing work environment there’s no excuse for it. The time to embrace the paradigm has come, old methods and
prescriptions for training solutions has seen its day – please get onboard and be the professional we know we should be. For more on this, connect with the globalmetblog.imanfiqrie.com Train, train and retrain.

References

Biech, Elaine. (2014). ASTD Handbook: The Definitive Reference for Training & Development (2nd Edition). Alexandria, VA: ASTD Press.

“Red Ocean vs. Blue Ocean Strategy.” Blue Ocean Strategy. Web. 30 Apr. 2015. <http://www.blueoceanstrategy.com/tools/redocean-vs-blue-ocean-strategy/>

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