One primary reason why traditional management training fails is that it focuses on skill deficits rather than on performance.
Typical management training is concerned with developing managerial skills rather than tackling performance problems within an organization.
For example: A training needs assessment determines that managers need to learn how to address employee morale, which is low. To learn how to address this problem, a manager attends training on how to create a motivational environment. In the class, the manager learns about different motivators and several strategies that can positively affect employee motivation. However, because there are managers from other departments, or possibly from other organizations, in the class, the instructor must use general examples that may or may not be relevant to the individual manager.
Consequences: The manager leaves the class with general knowledge about employee motivation that then has to be reconfigured to operate within the organization. The manager may have a better idea of different ways to create a motivational environment, but the manager does not have an opportunity to determine or test what will work best in his or her organization. Employee morale may continue to decline, which will have an adverse impact on their performance and the organization.
A better alternative: An organizational assessment indicates there is an employee performance problem due to low employee morale. The managers in the organization who share this challenge attend a class in which they can discuss their individual situations and learn new strategies to improve their employees’ morale.
Tips: Managers need to learn in a way that focuses them on the real issues and challenges they face on the job. Create an effective connection between working and learning, by giving managers the opportunity to work together, develop and deliver solutions, and learn from the experience. Focus on both content (motivational strategies) and context (the organizational policies and culture). Recognize that learning is a constant process and part of overall performance, rather than a unique event. Integrate learning and working.