Category Archives: Training

Why Conduct a Training Needs Analysis?

We recently proposed a quick survey of new Board members, before constructing a training session for the new, probably quite inexperienced Board.  The client wanted to know why we should bother, and it forced us to think about it.  This article is OK but isn’t concise enough for some discussions, so we put together this list.

You should always conduct a training needs analysis because:

  1. Writing it down helps make sure everyone is talking about the same thing, when they are talking about training content and what’s needed;
  2. It helps measure the skills gap, rather than making a brave presumption or estimate of it;
  3. You might find a greater depth of knowledge than expected on some topics, and thus you can skip some things and focus on others, which means your training session is more focused and more valuable;
  4. You might discover a lower level of knowledge than expected on some topics, so the training needs to be recalibrated to a lower level of skill/knowledge;
  5. You might discover some of your participants have sufficient depth of skill in some areas to be able to mentor others, or assist in training;
  6. You might discover some participants have special needs, or discover unexpected diversity or uniformity amongst participants, or an age or gender profile which suggests particular training methods;
  7. It earns buy-in from participants if you’re asking for their input;
  8. If participants understand the training reflects their needs as well as the needs of the organisation, they are more likely to participate properly and come back for more;
  9. It makes it more likely participants will see they are getting the training they want and need, rather than only in areas decided by others;
  10. It gets participants ready for the training session and makes them think about what they want to get out of it;
  11. It alerts participants to the fact that there’s change afoot – the training is going to move participants away from their business as usual behaviour;
  12. It makes it much easier to determine the desired outcomes of training if you understand the underlying skills base, the skills gap, and what it is that participants expect and want;
  13. It makes it easier to determine how much training is needed – half a day, two days, three weeks, somewhere in between; and
  14. Training is expensive – trainer fees, and the time participants spend in training, both need to be spent on filling the gap between skills held and skills wanted – and you can’t be sure you’re spending well unless you’ve made an effort to measure that gap.

Not all of those reasons will apply to every organisation, of course!

With such free/inexpensive tools as, it can be quick and painless to get good information.





Better Brainstorming

brainstorming-dollarEthical Consulting Services runs many training sessions for clients, and we often include brainstorming* sessions.

This short article has some great ideas for making brainstorming sessions work better – watch out for us to be inflicting them upon you, and feel free to test them out for yourself:


*     Here’s a bit of an explanation if you have never met “brainstorming” before and aren’t sure what it is:



Better Meetings: How?

meeting-angry-dollarDo you spend too much time in meetings that drive you nuts and waste your time?

There’s remarkably little good advice around, about how to make your meetings better, so we’re fixing that.

You can try:

  • this article from Bob Holderness-Rodham, which is reasonably simple and basic, or
  • this blog post from us, which is a bit deeper, or
  • this article from the Institute of Company Directors, which is mostly for higher-level and more formal meetings but does have many good suggestions,

or send us a message – we’re already helping others out with training and mentoring, customised to their needs!