9 to 5

I believe that most training programs are 'good', but not all of those are 'effective'. That's why I generally avoid taking post-program feedback ratings too seriously. Unless the trainer has done something monumentally silly, most training progams get rated as 'good' by participants. On a typical 1-5 scale, it is not surprising to see most ratings close to 4. This is all the more true for an outdoor / experiential learning program, where the participants usually leave on an upbeat mood.

The difference between good and effective becomes apparent only a few weeks/months have elapsed after training program.

It has been my priviledge to work with many enterprising and sincere client groups which applied the learnings of the program into concrete action, and these are the ones I call effective. Not just 'good'.

Case # 1 – Look within first

Overview – marketing team needs to improve communication within the team

Background - A marketing team in a pharmaceutical company consists of six brand managers reporting to a marketing head. Each brand manager works on an independent product and their work is actually not inter-dependent. However, they need to network closely for sharing ideas and experiences. Further, they have to make technical presentations during sales meetings. Since all brand managers cannot attend all meetings, one brand manager has to often 'stand in' for another who is absent. The marketing manager has to coordinate and track the performance of each brand  and has to work closely with the zonal sales managers in promoting the brands. During diagnosis, some also expressed that the marketing manager treated the team members differentially.

Solution - Each member was asked to take the FIRO-B and also draw a 'sociogram' of their work system. This was followed by a detailed one-on-one meeting, which dwelt upon the various behavioural aspects of the person. It focused on the needs of each person and avenues that s/he found to fulfill these. The leader was advised about the risks that he incurred in favouring one brand manager over the other towards fulfilling these needs.

Case # 2 – Appreciating differences

Overview – Enhancing understanding of work styles within different functional teams

Background – An OTC team is poised to expand in a big way over a period of six months. It is expected that people will be under stress to recruit the right people, quickly induct them into the team(s) and not let the ongoing line operations suffer during this expansion.

Solution - The entire sales team and the functional teams at Head Office of an OTC (over the counter) products company undertook the MBTI instrument. Each team sat separately with their profile types and made a presentation about their team's potential, its areas of strength as well as concern. E.g. the HR team consisted of two members, one ENFP and the other ISTJ. Thus between them, they brought in all the eight facets of MBTI to the organization. Their jobs overlapped to a great extent during this phase. However, it was clear that their job profiles would be clearly segregated in the months to come. This meant that once this segregation was complete, they would be required to avoid the pitfalls of their profile. In the case of the marketing team, the profile consisted of five brand managers (all Extroverts) who reported to the Head-Marketing (a clear Introvert). A discussion on their profiles gave them important insights into avoiding misunderstandings arising during team meetings and decision-making.

Case # 3 – What binds us together?

Overview – A small paint company requires to come 'together'.

Background – A paint company consists of manufacturing operations in Rajasthan and 11 sales offices across the country, with Head Office situated in Pune. After eight years of operations, the company has ambitious plans of launching innovative products that have the potential to seriously challenge the giants of paint sector in the country. The MD thought of creating TV commercials to launch the new products. A marketing communications consultant advised that the allocated budget could be better spent on training the sales staff. This idea led to the first-ever sales conference of the company. All the sales executives got a chance to witness the manufacturing process, have a dialogue with the R&D manager about the new launches. The manufacturing team also got a chance to understand the issues that the sales force faced. During the conference a sales training module was conducted using experiential learning method.
Four years later – After this event, the sales conference has become an annual event. Attrition levels are at the lowest ever, and sales executives show high levels of ownership towards their targets and organization's long-term goals.

© 2012 Pushkaraj Apte Website By MAARICH