13 Feb Why training doesn’t work and the change that you’re looking for won’t last
A man is heavily overweight so he goes on a diet and through sheer determination, will power and discipline he loses an incredible 4 stone. He has transformed how he looks and he’s asked “What have you done with your old clothes as they surely don’t fit you anymore?”. He replies, “I’ve put them in the loft for safe keeping”. What does this tell us? It tells us that this man, deep down does not see himself as, or believe that he is, this ‘new’ slimmer version of himself. And sure enough, over time, he returned to his original weight.
This is a true story and a good illustration of why training to make a change (in this case, dieting to lose weight), so often has a limited and short-lived impact.
Most training is aimed at the ‘surface’; improving behaviours and skills without preparing for the change at a deeper psychologically level. For example, let’s say a salesperson wants to update their sales skills and is taught a new technique/approach in sales. The training will have limited impact if that person is suffering from low self-esteem and confidence. It’s the equivalent, in medicine, of treating the ‘symptom’ and not the ‘cause’. In order for people to make sustainable changes and improvements, at the skills level (the surface), they need to have made a shift deep down in their psychological state, in order to support it.
As discussed by the ‘surface’ we are talking about skills, behaviours and actions. The deeper psychological state is made up of our Conditioning (including our beliefs, habits, attitudes and expectations) and our Self-concept (including our self-esteem, self-efficacy, self-image and confidence).
So if you are about to invest in training do make sure that the change you’re looking for is supported at a psychological level or you’ll be wasting your time and money.