The L&D Daily Advisor recently sat down with Jason Forrest, CEO and Chief Culture Officer at FPG (Forest Performance Group) to discuss some of the takeaways from his new book, WTF: Why Training Fails. Let’s get started.
L&D Daily Advisor: Why is it so difficult to transform new knowledge into new behaviors?
Jason Forrest: It’s all about the leashes we have, which are the mental roadblocks that hold us back from reaching our potential. At FPG our performance formula is Performance = Knowledge – Leashes©, which means that the more personal leashes you can confront and eliminate, the more quickly you can reach peak performance.
L&D Daily Advisor: What do you think is the number one reason that training is often so short-sighted?
Jason Forrest: I hear all the time that the joy is in the journey and not the destination. But the fallacy is that there’s a behavioral destination at all, that you can ever truly “arrive” as a person. At FPG, we understand that training isn’t about getting to a plateau where the training ends. At that point, you’re basically admitting you want to stop growing. Valuable training not only recognizes that we’re always learning and growing, but it helps facilitate that growth over the long haul.
L&D Daily Advisor: In your book, you talk about “experiential learning” from the perspective of the trainee. How do you get the trainer to help trainees learn, apply, reflect, and get coached?
Jason Forrest: It’s all about getting the trainer to understand that training begins in the classroom but continues in the field in continued follow-ups and ongoing learning. Where training so often stumbles is in believing that learning and growth begins and ends in the classroom. Classroom-style teaching is useful, but the most valuable moments of growth are spent in the field with people. That happens in the day-to-day operation of your company, not during one-off seminar events. Those moments of experiential learning where the real training and behavior change happens.
L&D Daily Advisor: Is the perception that training fails because employees are lazy fair?
Jason Forrest: No. Saying employees are lazy is a cop-out for management. Employees aren’t lazy, they either believe they’re enough or not. When not, they believe they can’t learn any more than what they already know, and therefore can’t get better. The only way to get better is to change their circumstances.
When employees don’t have control over their circumstances, they give up, which looks like laziness. But if their leader believes in them and their coach tells them how they’re already great but can be even better, they believe in that improvement. If held accountable, from the outside they now look like they’re driven and proactive.
L&D Daily Advisor: Can you explain the impact that positive reinforcement over negative reinforcement has on workplace culture?
Jason Forrest: The best workplace cultures are not inherently positive or negative in terms of external reinforcement. It’s more about what happens on the inside with each individual employee and the belief they’re given. The best cultures happen when there’s internal support and growth and ongoing coaching to help employees to have intrinsic motivation, not external motivation. That means creating a culture where employees want to perform well, not simply going through the motions to make the boss happy.
L&D Daily Advisor: A lot of companies say they don’t have the time or money to invest in in-depth training. What would you say to them?
Jason Forrest: The most likely reasons companies don’t believe they have the money for training is because they either invested in the 70% of training companies that don’t produce a positive ROI, or because they haven’t done it at all before. Since the best training companies produce a positive ROI, it’s rarely about the money at all and more about the personal leashes in play.
When we coach, we view it as a continuous process, which needs constant care. Training takes up time on the front end, while coaching is a continuous process that takes care of your progression and bottom line over the long haul. If companies are interested in better workplace culture and making more money, then they’re interested in in-depth training like the kind FPG provides.
Jason Forrest is the CEO and Chief Culture Officer at FPG (Forrest Performance Group).
Tomorrow we’ll cover the rest of the interview with Forrest.