How long does a course need to be?

A discussion about leader development today sparked off an old favourite of mine – how long should a training course be? The trouble I find is that almost all of the courses I have delivered for businesses have lasted one or two days. This is because that is the about of time the organisation is prepared to release staff from their work. However, despite having run more of these than I care to admit, I am completely sure of one thing:

Nobody makes a lasting change in a day. Or even two days.

Many consultants will tell you different – or more to the point people selling consultancy will. But it won’t make a difference long term to the way people interact with each other. Of this I am quite sure.

So, how long does it take?

This requires the standard response of a psychologist to practically any question. “It depends”. Here are some of the factors:

  • The change that the organisation wants the attendees on the course to make
  • How far from existing behaviour this is
  • the number of people on the course
  • Whether they think the change is desirable
  • Whether they think the change is achievable

But actually, the only thing that matters is this:

Do they want to change?

If they do – or can be persuaded that they do. And you create a programme based on a firm evidence base. And you give them time. Then it is possible.

No matter what anyone says – even if they are from a large, well-known training business – this is the truth. Being from a large business means they have sold products successfully. It doesn’t mean they are right.

And now I shall step down from the soap box.

If you are thinking of buying some management or leadership training for your organisation, I’d be very happy to discuss how it is possible to help your people to change and it won’t cost the earth.  Use the contact form on this website or contact me on LinkedIn.

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