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Monica Wofford, CSP, is a leadership development expert and author of Contagious Leadership and newly released, Make Difficult People Disappear.

Did you know that poor leadership costs you more than it would to hire an additional employee?

In sales, they’ll tell you the customer always knows what they want, but often not what they “need”. The same exists in employee training. While a leader may want time management training, the real issue might be communication break downs that take time to resolve. Knowing what you want is good. Asking the questions that get you what you need to resolve the real issue, have long term retention, and grow is even better. Here are three questions to ask yourself when looking for that solution that will help employees grow, even if all you want them to do is “grow out of” a few bad habits.

Question 1: If everyone were doing exactly what you wanted them to do, what would that look like?

When first approached about the need for a training class, I’m most interested in the perceived problem that needs to be addressed. The leader’s view of the problem and the employee view is often different so to design a course that will be well received by employee’s and meet the leader’s objectives, it can be a bit of a delicate dance. This question helps the leader to see that “perfect and ideal” world where everyone did what they wanted. But, it also opens an often very interesting discussion about how that might be as ideal as the leader thinks. What would it look like if everyone at work did exactly what you wanted? How would your customers respond? How would profits and revenue be impacted?

Question 2: What would you like for them to do differently, see, say, or believe differently as a result of this training program?

This question gets to the heart of the issue pretty quickly and if often a hard one to answer. Instead of looking at a list of topics and picking one that sounds good, a true Training and Consulting firm, focused on meeting your real need will pose a question like this one. It identifies the behaviors and actions that you want to see changed. Plus, once you identify what you want them to do differently, you have then also established a baseline for measurement to use after the training program.

Question 3: What would you like for them to Stop, Start, or Continue Doing?

This is a popular rephrase of question #2. It gets at similar answers through a different route, but it also gets at something even more important. Not everything the employees are doing is bad or wrong or something you wish to change, normally. Thus, to preserve what they do well, identify what you want them to continue. The question of what to stop is equally important because it’s easier to stop doing something usually than to start.

Training those you lead and helping them grow should directly impact the growth of your organizations success. Yet so many training programs are merely One Hit Wonders focused on motivation. If you want to create real growth, ask these real questions and then work with a firm who can truly carry out both your training wants AND needs.

I’m Monica Wofford, and that’s your Monday Moment. Have a great Monday, an even better week and of course, stay contagious!

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