Change Management Training is a Waste of Money

Saturday, May 3rd, 2008

(This is my response to a Human Resources blog that was promoting training as major support in change management.)
I agree that organizations need to be savvy about change management. But, change management training is a bad investment of money and time.

1. Training is a poor substitute for leadership. When training is used as the primary way of engaging people in change, you put the new initiative at risk. Training supports leadership, not the reverse. Without leadership people learn skills but lack a focus to apply them.

2. Training that is offered before it is needed is soon forgotten. And, even worse, people grow cynical. They begin to believe that they know all they need to know about managing change without ever having had to apply these ideas.

When training is linked directly to a new project as a way to give everyone a common language and set of tools, it can be a fine intervention. This is especially true if the training itself is an intervention. For example, teach a model and then apply immediately to the project. Teach the next tool and then apply it right away. Etc.