Training Versus Development



Have you ever sent your employees to training, whether it be for a day or a week? Then they return to work and struggle with how to implement what was taught. In time, the impact fades away and only a few nuggets remain of the investment.


One of the common themes I hear when discussing business challenges and opportunities is people blending training and development.


However, training and development are distinctly different.


Training plays a significant part in development, however training is usually in the management spectrum. It focuses on financial metrics, business processes, a technical skill, the employees role, and completed in a one size fits all approach. Everyone in the training gets the same content no matter where they are in their development or their level of experience. I have experienced this first hand and heard it said many times "I sent my people to training and they returned and no meaningful impact occurred."

This is where the difference in training and development exist, and how leadership ties into the equation.

The only way to sustainably grow the leadership levels of you or your organization is to establish a culture of development and growth. Development is based on developing the person, it isn’t a program that you can attend and come home as a leader after two or three days. Training programs are extremely valuable as they aid in increasing the level of knowledge a person has. However, knowledge alone without a cadence of action does not drive long term growth and increased performance. It requires time and resources to drive action, along with layered learning. Layered learning is taking knowledge into action, and reflecting on the outcome. Development can be completed both one on one or as a team. Many times, it is done via observational learning or learning while observing others.


Training is typically about management and the person's role, and development is about the person and how far they can go. Training is a short game, and development is a long game.


An example is the leadership trait of decision making. Effective decision making is a developed leadership trait. However, the process of decision making cannot be trained, it has to be developed. When was the last time you went to decision-making training?

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Harvesting Potential provides executive coaching and leadership development to business leaders and organizations who are motivated to learn, grow and take action.

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