Peer to Peer

September 2009

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Page 45 of 91 46 Peer to Peer O ne of the joys that i have in my line of work is that i get to work with talented trainers from law firms all over the country — from AmLaw 100 to the small one-location, one- trainer firms — who share some common responsibilities. Most spend a good deal of time training new hires, participating in rollouts of new technology and providing targeted ongoing training classes either live in the classroom or remotely using a variety of distance learning technologies. All trainers wear many hats. I propose they add yet another duty and here's why: Performance is not improving. We all know that training is about the transfer of knowledge. But for training to add value to your firm, learning must be tied to business processes and workflow of individuals and teams. In order for learning to be effective, it needs to include changes in behaviors, work practices, systems and relationships. The Trainer Approach So what is wrong with training? Trainers often start with the premise that the solution to everything is training. Training is not always the answer. When a new technology is introduced to a firm, training is put forth to get users up to speed with the new tool. But is sitting in a class going to get people to use what they have learned? Will they be motivated to use what they learned back at their desks? A secretary that is not motivated to use technology will still be unmotivated and non-productive after a day of training. Common trainer measurements don't tell much of a story either. The number of classes held, the types of classes held, the number of users who attended classes and the variety of classes offered are all good data to collect. These findings, however, do not tell us how training has improved performance or productivity. The Performance Consultant Approach Performance consultants take it a step further by measuring results through tools such as assessment. By measuring the skill set prior to training and then again after the training initiative, you measure results. Performance consultants don't look for a single solution to a performance issue. Instead, they take a more systematic approach to determine what contributes to performance and what impedes it. The purpose in performance consulting is to: ensure that people have what they need to excel • eliminate barriers to performance • identify what has to be in place for attendees to apply • what they have learned A performance consultant considers the following questions: do people have consistent, clear direction? • People don't always know what they are supposed to be doing, or they might have habits that need to change. When an attorney receives e-mail with a document attached, does he know what the steps are to save the document, make edits and return the document to the sender? do people have access to relevant information? • You might be surprised how much information is still distributed on paper, which quickly becomes outdated. While consulting with one firm, I saw the firm's trainer put a newly Learning Better Work Practices Is the Goal by Charlene LeMaire From Trainer to Performance Consultant

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