Understanding the importance of follow-up training became clear while I was working with two corporate staff members on leadership training and management development with their teams. One of the managers asked what he should expect from follow-up with his team.
We had just held the first meeting of a new class on leadership. The topic was one of my favorites: the need to manage projects and the importance of leading (influencing) people. At the end of the first session, each participant was asked to pick one action to become a better leader.
The Importance of Follow-up Training
Use it or Lose It
After each chose an action, we discussed how critical follow-up would be. Several studies conclude that without follow-up, people lose 70% or more of what they’ve learned in as little time as 24 hours. However, with follow-up, those percentages reverse.
What Should be Expected?
So, as I mentioned, one of the team leaders asked what he should expect when he followed up individually with his team members. I told him, in the beginning, don’t expect much more than that each person remembers the action they committed to. More than likely, they hadn’t begun acting on their action. The leader was disappointed with my answer. He smiled and laughed but said he expected more.
I explained that it was up to him to set the tone and lead the way through his continued follow-up. Initially, he should not be disappointed with modest gains, baby steps if you will, as long as they’re heading in the right direction. As time passes, if he continues to follow up, lead, and help, he can expect more, but Rome wasn’t built in a day.
At the end of our conversation, the other team leader joined us. She’s led similar classes previously. Without being aware of our earlier discussion, I asked what she expected from the first follow-up. She said she hoped they remembered what they committed to. The other leader laughed and explained we were discussing this and how glad he was that he’d asked because he would’ve been disappointed.
I learned this the hard way, by trial and error. So, the takeaway for leaders who read this post is this: progress is progress. It often starts in small increments, not giant leaps. So don’t be disappointed, strive for more, and push to be better. However, don’t be discouraged when the needle is pointed north, regardless of the size of the compass. It’s up to you as a leader to show your team how to follow up on improvement commitments. The more you do, the more they’ll improve.
How Can I Help You?
I like to help people and organizations, but I have three criteria I consider before taking an assignment – I believe in what the organization stands for, I know I can help, and it looks like fun. If you have any questions, Contact Me.
So, does your business have a management training plan? Because if not, many organizations, large and small, use my book, The New Manager’s Workbook, a crash course in effective management, as the basis for their leadership development program. Check it out. It might help you stop putting off what you want to do.
If you’d like more ideas on follow-up training, read this: How To Improve Employee Training Retention.