September is one of those months associated with the harvest. Of course in Arizona some harvests occur earlier – before the heat of the summer; some harvests come in September, October, or November. And if we are lucky enough to plant cool weather crops in the fall, and protect them from the occasional freeze, we can harvest all winter long too. Thinking about this and letting my thoughts wander to developing leaders, I am struck by the thought that leaders develop other by not only planting seeds of training and development in others, but also by harvesting the results of those training and development efforts. Here’s what I mean:
When supervisors of others want to develop a trait or skill in someone they frequently send that person to some type of training and development experience. It may be a conference, a college course, a workshop, seminar, or webinar. Then, they could simply say “My job is done. I sent them to training, now it is up to them to do something with what they learned.” Alternatively, a leader will find ways to harvest the learning and development. How do they do this? By holding the trainee accountable for applying what they learned and by asking the trainee to teach others what they learned.
It has long been a tenet of adult learning and training professionals that trainees retain more information and knowledge if they apply the learning or develop it well enough to teach it to others. With this in mind I suggest that next time you send a staff member to a learning or training event, it should be required that the trainee return from the training and share their knowledge with others who were not able to attend the workshop, webinar, or conference. Have that trainee teach you the information they learned as well, so you know what they can do to apply the knowledge on the job. Then, help hold them accountable for incorporating what they have learned. In this way, you will be not only planting the seed of training for your staff members, but also harvesting the learning and knowledge for your team.