The Morning After: 6 Sure-Fire Ways to Ensure Your Training Sticks

Dec 09, 2016 1 Min Read


John glanced excitedly at the conference room walls filled with easel sheets, plans and ideas. And then sighed deeply as he shuffled through his deep pile of notes and action items.

“Karin, I guarantee you, I’ll be a better leader tomorrow morning as a result of your Winning Well boot camp. And I’m almost certain I’ll still be a better leader the following week, and maybe even the week after that.

“It’s week three that worries me. How can I be sure to maintain the return of investment (ROI) and that I keep applying these Winning Well techniques when real life hits the fan?”

John’s question is real. If you’re like most managers, you’ve left more than one training programme with good intentions, only to fall back into old behaviours.

So how do you make the training stick?

6 Sure-Fire Ways to Ensure lasting impact

1. Focus on one behaviour change at a time.

When you learn game-changing leadership techniques, it’s tempting to try everything all at once. After all, if these techniques produce results, you owe it to your team to use them. Right? Perhaps. But not all at the same time.

Pick one specific behaviour or approach you know will make the impact and integrate it into your leadership approach. Practise it consistently. Tweak it. Make it your own. Ask for feedback.

Once you feel confident and competent in that behaviour, the timing might be right to add in another technique.
Too much change all at once will overwhelm both you and your team.

2. Find an accountability partner.

Change is hard, and it can be lonely. It’s much easier to give up when no one’s looking. Find someone you trust who understands what you’ve just learned (someone else in your training class is a great choice).

Share the behaviour you’re working on and make a commitment to check in with one another once a week to see how things are going and discuss challenges and brainstorm next steps.

3. Invite your team on the journey.

Tell your team what you’ve learned and what you’ve chosen to work on and why. Invite them to notice when it’s working and offer suggestions as to what you can do better.

Your team already knows you’re not perfect, and they’ll be delighted to know you’re working on becoming a more effective manager.

4. Teach what you’ve learned.

One of the best ways to become a rock star at a skill is to teach it. Consider sharing some of the tools you’ve learned and teach them to others.

5. Ask for feedback.

Make it a point to ask for feedback on the impact your new approach is having on the people you’re leading. Ask open-ended questions about what you can do to improve.

6. When you screw up, apologise and try again.

New habits don’t come easy. If you slip back into old behaviours, apologise and try again.

Your team knows you’re not perfect. They just want to know you’re trying.

Training is important, but what matters most is what you do when you get back to your team. With just a bit of focus, you can ensure the strongest ROI for you and your team.

Your turn. What tips do you have for making training stick?

Karin Hurt is a leadership consultant and MBA professor with decades of experience in sales, customer service and HR. She also co-authored “Winning Well: A manager’s guide to getting results without losing your soul”. To engage with her, email us at

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