Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2018 - 15
SAM SHRIVER & MARSHALL GOLDSMITH
THE PRACTICAL IMPACT OF AN
Andrew Burns is the CEO and chief
investment officer of a company called
Hamilton Point Investment Advisors, LLC.
Among many other things, he publishes
a blog that we find both entertaining
and educational (qualities we both
admire and secretly envy). In perusing
his March installment, we considered
this particular line to have far reaching
utility: "When faced with competing
options or theories, one should consider
the least complicated one."
This wisdom is credited to a 14th century
Franciscan friar named William Ockham.
While friars undoubtedly had several
functions to perform in their day, chief
among them was thinking. Supported by
the charitable contributions of villagers,
friars dedicated a significant portion of
their time to thoughtful consideration.
They read. They prayed. They searched
for wisdom. And, when they stumbled
across some, they documented it and
passed it along to practitioners (with
no reasonable expectation that wisdom
would remain in active discussion some
700 years later).
Andrew "unpacks" Friar Williams' advice
in his blog by referencing a recent metaanalysis that has been conducted by the
Journal of Business Research. The study
reviewed 32 papers that compared
97 simple and complex methods of
forecasting future events. The primary
impacted accuracy and increased
forecast error by 27 percent.
We infer from this that effectively
employing a strategy that you can
intuitively grasp, significantly increases
your probability of success. This point
has been reinforced over (and over
again) by learning mentors we have
been fortunate enough to cross paths
with during our careers.
Peter Drucker is universally admired
for his brilliance (rightfully so). From
our perspective, the essence of that
brilliance is his ability to take the
dynamic, multifaceted forces that
constitute leadership and present them
in a manner that all of us can not only
understand but put into practice -
likewise with Paul Hersey. Early on,
Situational Leadership® was criticized
because it failed to account for a number
of variables that leaders encountered
as they attempted to influence others.
In response (and sometimes rather
aggressively), Dr. Hersey would respond
with something like this: "Situational
Leadership® is a practical model ...
that people can actually use! If you are
looking for a model that mirrors the
complexities presented by the real world
... just use the real world!"
To us, this is really kind of the whole point.
Effective learning takes complicated
things and makes them simple. It breaks
them down. The resultant impact is that
learners get it! More than that, they
not only get it, they see themselves
being able to take what they have
just learned and solve a problem,
right a wrong or take advantage of an
opportunity. As they apply the skills
they've learned (post-training) in
pursuit of those goals, the experience
they gain - in combination with the
coaching and feedback they receive -
provides the foundation necessary for
more intricate application.
So, in that regard, and in an effort to
provide targeted perspective that
accurately reflects our combined
experience in the learning industry,
we have two interrelated points of
consideration for today's learning
THINGS AND MAKES
1. Keep it relevant: The more a
learning experience accurately reflects
the current reality of the learner, the
higher the probability that learning will
produce desirable changes in behavior.
2. Keep it engaging: Level 1 feedback
matters! The more learners like
the learning event, the higher the
probability they will retain and use what
If this advice sounds simplistic, we
feel we are in good company! Never
underestimate the practical impact of an
unfettered approach. Or, as Leonardo Da
Vinci offered many years ago, "Simplicity
is the ultimate sophistication!"
Marshall Goldsmith is the world authority
in helping successful leaders get even better.
Sam Shriver is the senior vice president
of commercial operations and product
development at The Center for Leadership
Studies. Email Marshall and Sam.
T R A I N I N G I N DUSTR Y MA GAZ INE - BACK TO BASICS 2018 I W WW. T RAININGINDU S T RY . C OM/ MAGAZ I NE
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2018