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How Well Did Your 2016 Training Resolutions Work Out?

2016-resolutionsWith December starting in a few days, it’s time to ask this question . . .

How well did your 2016 training resolutions work out?

You might be wondering why we are asking that question now. Wouldn’t it be smarter to ask about the New Year’s resolutions that you will make for year 2017?

The fact is, we will be writing a post about that in a few weeks. But first, let’s review what you intended to get done in the last year.

What Did You Plan to Accomplish in 2016?

We don’t have a way of knowing the specific goals that you set for the past year. But we can take an educated guess that you might have been intending to tackle projects like these . . .

  • Review and update your old training materials.
  • Migrate more of your training to mobile devices or tablets.
  • Increase the ROI from your training expenditures.
  • Conduct a soup-to-nuts, top-to-bottom review of your training goals and processes.
  • Take a close look at how well your current training development company or your in-house training developers are hitting your most important goals.
  • Review and revamp the metrics you use to define training success.
  • Revise your materials and approach to help you “speak” better to millennials, a bilingual workforce, or other training groups that are entering your workforce in greater numbers.
  • Send your training developers and presenters for courses to freshen and update their skills.

But What Did You Really Get Done?

As each new year begins, most people set too many resolutions. That could be because they are too optimistic or enthusiastic.  But if you set goals at the start of every year and never reached them, the more important question is, how will you do better in 2017?

One way to do better is to ask questions like these about any 2016 resolutions that didn’t quite work out.

Did you set goals that were genuinely important?

We need to face that fact that we often set goals that we think we ought to be trying to accomplish instead of goals that promise specific and important rewards. We read an article in a business magazine that describes a hot new trend (like offering training to millennials on mobile phones, for example) and we feel shamed into thinking, “Gee, that is something that ought to be important to me, so I’ll add it to my list.” But does that goal move you toward your most important real-world needs? If not, chances are it will remain undone.

One way to avoid that kind of thinking is to review and consider your unmet 2016 goals. Which of them moved you toward important accomplishments? If you determine they were important resolutions that you never tackled, it is time to put them back on your 2017 list. If not, perhaps you should set them aside.

What specifically kept you from moving ahead on your resolutions?

Was a resolution or goal so big and complex that you kept delaying getting started? Maybe it was the kind of project that you kept moving from one meeting agenda to the next, without ever getting it started. If so, you might consider breaking that big goal into finite sub-steps that you can manage one bite at a time.

Or perhaps a resolution got stalled because your internal team lacked an expert who had the specific skills the project required. Maybe your training development team doesn’t include someone who knows how to adapt older printed training materials for mobile platforms, for example, or lacks someone who is an expert at evaluating training results. Perhaps it is time to revisit the resolution in 2017 but to do so more strategically, by hiring a new team member or partnering with an external training development consultant.

Did important resolutions stall because you failed to attack them in priority order?

Often, resolutions move ahead better when you make practical plans about which to address first, which second, and so on. A large list of unprioritized resolutions can overwhelm even the best training developers or top executive teams. Prioritizing can break the log jam.

Are you failing to delegate some of your resolutions to other people who can handle them just as capably as you can?

This can happen when you think, “I’m the only person who knows how to do this, so I’ll put it on hold until I have the bandwidth to take it on.” If you have fallen into that pattern (and many executives have), the solution is to hand off parts of that important initiative to other members of your team. The thought, “I have to do it all myself,” as we all know, is almost always an impediment to progress.

What do the goals you did meet in 2016 tell you about your underlying priorities, processes and needs?

Did you create a successful new sales training program? Did you hire more effective trainers, create training that helped your employees increase repeat business, or hit other targets? If so, what do those successes teach you about what you are doing best, and what your top priorities and practices should be in the coming year?

Why not just cross some of your resolutions off your list and forget them?

That might seem like a funny suggestion to make as we end our post today. But simply crossing off a resolution can sometimes trigger more progress than you expect. Deleting an unmet resolution from your list could cause you to learn that it was not that important in the first place. Or if you cross off a resolution and it keeps calling to you or making you feel guilty, that could tell you that it’s time to dust it off, really get going on it, and attack it with renewed energy and planning.

And Now for Your 2017 Resolutions

In a future post, we will encourage you to set your sights on making your 2017 training resolutions. Remember, Tortal Training consultants will be happy to assist you in that process. We wish you the best training year ever in 2017.

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