Training Toward Strategic Initiatives

Let’s begin with a question that every training executive should be consistently asking themselves. Does our company’s current management training program align with our business strategy and goals? If the answer to this question is anything but an emphatic yes, it’s time to re-examine your training plan and shift priorities.  Business conditions change quickly and training programs need to keep pace and make the necessary adjustments to support the goals of the organization. Otherwise, you are simply training for training sake and the company is not realizing the full return on its investment.

In the oil and gas market where I spend a great deal of time, I see complex, high-consequence situations present themselves to leadership teams on a daily basis where they must piece together information, often from disparate locations across the globe. The biggest challenge they face in this scenario is making the proper call on tight deadlines, normally during periods of uncertainty when there is slim data to support a complete analysis. Therefore, effective training courses for management teams need to take into account the different variables that can affect decision making and ultimately, the impact they have on the organizations strategic initiatives.

Mature businesses are typically in either a growth phase, meaning they are making large investments in research and development, equipment and personnel or a profit stage where they are scaling back on these investments and are focused on accumulating cash and building shareholder value. Each of these strategic objectives presents very different training challenges and requires customized approaches from training experts who not only understand business, but are knowledgeable about the subtleties of a particular sector. The most critical of decisions often take place under the most stressful circumstances. Having the right training programs in place will assist the leadership team in playing out the various scenarios that are possible in given situations and being better prepared for those that can’t be anticipated.

The advantage of being able to go back and analyze the impact of decisions and reexamine the data that formed the basis of these choices is nearly incalculable. For example, if there is a mechanical breakdown on a deep water rig, snap decisions need to be made. Should it be shut down, does the equipment need to be repaired or replaced, purchased or leased, do we need to bring in an expert? Is there any danger of an environmental incident, are there any safety concerns? All these decisions have the ability to affect the business for not only today, but for years to come.

For leadership teams who make frequent, high stakes decisions that have the potential to affect millions of dollars in shareholder value, rehearsing scenarios (through simulation training) can be what determines success or failure in trying to achieve a strategic objective.