Why a CEO should train with the troops
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  • 03 Jun 2013

I went to a great in-house training session lead by one of our facilitators last week. What really stood out to me was the CEO and CFO of the company not only set the stage for why the training was mission critical for their business, they actually stayed for the entire two-day training programme.

This signalled two things. One is that there is no better way to demonstrate to your staff that the training they are doing is important than having senior management on the programme with them. The CEO reflected it was part of a major change programme for the organisation and the start of shifting the growth of the company upwards. Interestingly, rather than stifle engagement, the presence of the two business leaders encouraged the staff to bring a level of honesty and engagement to sessions that you are unlikely to see in any other environment. I liken the training room to that of a sports team on tour; there is a feeling of “what goes on tour, stays on tour” and a good facilitator will leverage this to make the sessions more meaningful than they would be otherwise.

Secondly, this is part of a growing trend in how companies are using training programmes. It used to be that training was run to meet HR’s development requirements; so long as they were held and the box was ticked, nobody really cared too much about the outcome. What we are now seeing is senior management teams using training programmes to affect major step-changes within an organisation. There is no better way to get staff on-board with a new way of thinking or process to deliver an outcome. Our interactive training methods allow everyone to engage in the process and learn in ways that are intuitive to them – embedding major changes in thinking far faster and more effectively than ever before. I openly encourage senior leaders to be part of the development process from its inception and there is no better place to start than the providing strong clarity on the outcomes they want to achieve.

While CEOs don’t have the time to attend every training programme, when it is being used to embed major organisational change, I can think of no better way to ensure that staff take it seriously and that we, as facilitators, are held accountable for delivering the outcomes the training is to achieve.