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October 8th 2009

Training vs. Development

We work in the field of corporate training and development. People often ask, ‘What’s the difference?’ This is how we see it.

Training is outside in: it involves getting tools, techniques and knowledge) into people’s heads and into their behaviour so they can use and practice them to improve their performance in a specific area.

Development, on the other hand, is inside out: it involves helping people realise their potential and improve performance across many areas of their work.

In our long experience of working with organisations, we’ve found a much greater emphasis on training, especially early on in people’s careers. When we ask managers if they’ve articulated their own personal and professional development plans, we are most often met with blank stares. Very few have considered and stated their intention for the professional development of those who report to them.

When senior managers tell stories of the leaders that have inspired them, most often they mention people who expressed a vision for them beyond what they had imagined for themselves. These were leaders or colleagues who called them to professional adventures beyond their comfort zones and expectations, and provided opportunities to grow and develop.

When we ask executive to state the company growth figures for the last year we usually get clear answers–in real numbers, or in percentages. When we ask those same executives to estimate how much they have personally grown during the past year, they often say, “I haven’t really thought about that.”

How can we expect our businesses to grow and thrive if we are not embracing, seeking and demanding personal growth?

We recognise that a combination of Training and Development is essential to create extraordinary performance. Our work is designed to meet and artfully combine these two needs.

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