Many training organizations today claim to customize, but not all customization is created equal. Putting your logo on the cover of a training manual and changing client to customer or vice versa, is not true customization – that is simply personalization.
You might wonder if it really matters – after all, training companies have a certain perspective and generally teach the same basic skill sets across multiple organizations and industries. I’ve spent my career committed to the belief that customization, true, deep customization, does matter and there is research to back that up.
The graph above is from a study conducted by Trainingindustry.com. They surveyed a number of L&D leaders who supported sales training and transformation initiatives. 72% of those who fully customized their programs reported that their initiative was “effective.” This compares with only a 27% effectiveness rate for those with light customization and 7% for those with no customization. Customization – at a deep level – makes a significant difference in impact because it results in a program that is much more relevant to the audience. That increased relevance means it is easier for the participants to understand, accept and apply to their own day to day internal and client interactions – ultimately increasing adoption. The faster it can be adopted, the faster you will start seeing results.
Customization is generally a one time fee and true, deep customization is often higher than the uninitiated might expect. This data reinforces that the investment is worth it – but only if done well. If you are embarking on a training initiative, make sure that the organization you select is not just giving lip service to customization and be sure you are getting the most for that investment by doing the following:
1. Ask for samples of their work and have them show you how those samples have been tailored.
2. Ask for a description of the customization process.
3. Ask how the training organization will work with you to customize the materials. It should be a collaborative process.
4. Be prepared to share internal processes and documents that the training should reinforce or strengthen. If you are not asked for those things, that should be a red flag.
5. Ask who will be responsible for doing the customization. Beware of the organizations who introduce you to a senior level team member during the sales process, then assign the new hire to do the actual work.
6. Ask for a walk through of the materials with the person responsible for customizing them – far enough in advance of the training to allow for additional edits.
Sphere is a performance improvement firm that has been improving leadership, sales and communications performance for more than 20 years. We work with Fortune 500 and FTSE 1000 organizations globally across multiple industries helping tens of thousands of professionals at every level in those organizations enhance their performance.
We do that by helping you determine what is working well with your organization, your teams and your people right now, while at the same time, with laser focus, helping you identify key areas for improvement. We then work with your leadership team and individual contributors and/or teams to help them leverage their strengths and refine their areas for improvement through incremental change. It is at once an individual and a holistic approach to defining and inspiring you to achieve your next level of excellence. You can reach us at www.sphereintl.com.