If you are about to introduce a Management Development Program and want an idea of how much value the program will bring to your organization, look at this totally unscientific but very useful and practical questionnaire.
A number of years ago, a colleague and friend told me that she had discovered a great new course that taught employees how to become more “accountable”. Furthermore the training was entertaining because it was based on the book “The Wizard of Oz.”
Ever the sceptic, I replied that it sounded like “sheep-dip training”. She looked puzzled, so I explained that in some organizations the management training strategy is to start delivery near the top, and to cascade it down from one level to the next. If the training is treated as part of a comprehensive change strategy, then it can be quite effective. Unfortunately, sometimes it isn’t. In these situations, we call it sheep-dip training. Being a city girl, she was unfamiliar with the concept of sheep-dip, so I explained that sheep farmers run their flocks through a bath of sheep-dip, hoping to rid them of fleas and ticks in one easy go. Organizations that introduce training in the same way, expect a short workshop to rid their employees of all their performance issues. Sheep farmers are usually happy with the results, but managers are usually disappointed.
She looked a little insulted, and replied emphatically that this was NOT a sheep-dip program. So I challenged her to fill out a “Sheep-Dip Survey” to evaluate the training she was considering.
When she agreed I was forced to run back to my office and put together very quickly the “Sheep-Dip Survey” which at that time didn’t exist. When completed, I thought it looked credible so sent it to her. But before I finish this anecdote, you can read through the survey:
DOWNLOAD THE (PDF) SURVEY
The survey was designed to be a light hearted dig at a colleague, and perhaps a hint that she should think a little more about her “Wizard of Oz” training. In fact, the training wasn’t implemented, but I have no idea if the survey played a role.
However, since I developed the survey, I’ve used it several times to review training that I’m developing for clients. I’ve found it extremely useful, not only because of the scores given, but because it reminds me of the objectives of management training and what it takes to achieve these objectives. Remember the survey isn’t constructed scientifically. We have no norms, and it hasn’t been validated. However, it seems to make sense.
It’s been suggested that, if I ever want the survey taken seriously, I should change the name to something more dignified. But, you know what? I won’t, because it really catches the eye, and captures people’s attention. And besides, it does such a great job of sending the message that management training is, and always will be about adding value.
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