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Matthew Moran
15 March 2011

Stimulating review by Al Bird of the Social Learning Handbook and the Working Smarter Fieldbook. Concludes that training and development professionals must show themselves to be credible. How? By focusing formal training where it works best (and weeding it out where it doesn't - especially when it's costly and unnecessary). Both books point to 'performance consulting' in their analyses of people-productivity challenges (as opposed to 'training needs analysis'). They argue that we should probe deep and look at what creates the 'problem' for an individual/team/organisation and what can be done to improve performance in a hard business sense. The answer will not necessarily be 'training' (it may involve, for example, clearer role definition, opportunities for collaboration, better performance management or regular coaching). 'As with some of my clients, better to knock off the word "training" and simply call it a "needs analysis"'. This means not prejudging the outcomes (as we are wont to do).

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