Let’s be honest with ourselves. When somebody says, “I don’t have the time to do X, although I’d like to,” who are they kidding? If they wanted to do it, they’d find the time, wouldn’t they? And isn’t this true for you, too?

Sure it is. Deep down we all know it’s an issue of priorities, not of time.

So with that introduction, let’s consider the following facts, which come from a web survey of 407 HR people that we did here at the Rapid Learning Institute: While 74% of HR pros say that training and developing managers is part of their job, only 12% say they have the time to give training the attention it deserves.

We also asked the survey participants whether, given the opportunity, they’d like to create a stronger talent development culture within their organizations. A massive 92% said they would. But let’s be brutally honest, who’s going to give you that opportunity if you don’t create it?

Building capability
OK, let’s assume you’re sold on our thesis that if you want to reinforce the importance of training and development in your organization, you can. What steps can you take?

Cori Hill, a leadership development consultant and the co-author of “Developing Leaders and Organizations Through Action Learning,” listed several such steps in an interview with Forbes. Among them:

  • Encourage managers to be seen to learn. Nothing builds a learning culture like leaders who aren’t afraid to admit they don’t always know it all. If you and the rest of management show employees that you are capable of learning, and willing to do so, they’ll take your example. And don’t hesitate to share with others how you’re going to attack your personal learning and development goals.
  • Celebrate learning, not just outcomes. Cue managers to look at more than results. Managers should recognize employees not only for a task well done, but also for what they learned while working on the assignment. This approach is especially useful if the assignment was difficult or challenging for the person, and perhaps wasn’t carried out perfectly. It gives the manager something positive and forward-looking to focus on.
  • Treat mistakes as opportunities. Employees will learn more and develop faster if they are allowed to make mistakes. Of course, some mistakes are unacceptable, but others managers can live with. If employees know that they won’t be crucified for every error or lapse in judgment, they’ll be more willing to welcome or even seek out the kinds of challenging assignments where they will learn the most.

Over to you
To sum up: If you’re among the approximately three-quarters of HR people who do have some responsibility for training and development, don’t sit back and wait for somebody to hand you a bushel of free time to get started.

You can find or make the time if it’s important enough to you. And it should be.

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