Employee training and development professionals, with the endorsement of their HR and Training departments, continue to invest in the latest and greatest technology and content without first figuring out how best to get the results their organizations need. Richard Flanagan, co-author of The Six Disciplines of Breakthrough Learning, likens this to buying a drill before you know what kind of hole you want. He writes:
We've all heard the old adage that people don't buy drills because theywant drills, they want holes. Unfortunately, in the
Learning/Development/Training world too many customers are still asking for
drills without clearly defining what kind of holes they need, why they need
them, where they need them, and how they will measure them; and too many
providers – L/D/T professionals - are still taking orders for drills without
clearly understanding and gaining upfront agreement on the number, size,
distribution, pattern, or location of the desired holes, how success will be
evaluated, or even the need for the holes in the first place.
Not to beat a dead horse, but I think the drill is a wonderful metaphor for the training and development field. Drills are getting more powerful, very high tech, more mobile, and more fun, so people will buy drills and then find a use for them. I'm afraid that much of the training that goes on in organizations is a drill looking for an excuse to make a hole.