In his book Working With Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman describes how millions are wasted on two and three day leadership and management training seminars. In some researched cases, performance actually dropped after seminar training.
Drinking from a Fire Hose
In most instances, seminar training is like drinking from a fire hose. Participants are bombarded with facts and techniques. They are lucky to come away with a few swallows while the rest the valuable information goes down the drain. It’s estimated that if you’re exposed to an idea once, you’re lucky if you recall 50% of it after one day. After two days, you’re lucky if you recall 25%. After 16 days, you’re lucky if you recall 2% of the information you were exposed to.
For added perspective, let’s explore another area of good intentions. In the United States, Weight Loss and Fitness is a $37 billion industry. How much of that money do you feel is well spent? Most agree that like seminar training, much of the money is wasted as exercise equipment and fad diets fail to sustain the desired improvements.
Don’t we already know that if we ate properly and exercised more, we would get results? Yet we prefer to throw money at techniques in pursuit of the quick fix. What are the typical results? Isn’t success really about behavior?
Developing Soft Skills
If soft skills training seminars for are ineffective in generating measurable results, what’s the best way develop leadership and management skills? Isn’t it about improving behaviors? How do you effectively improve leadership and management behavior? Are those one to three day seminars be effective?
William James, the father of American Psychology, provides some insight on positive behavior change.
“The greatest discovery of our generation is that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.”
The attitudes that drive our behaviors can be changed, but not without a conscious, methodical effort. Can we really expect improved emotional intelligence to come any faster or easier than physical fitness?