Linking In with Matt

Matthew Richter posts daily comments in LinkedIn—well, almost daily. You can follow him and join the conversation by going to For the benefit of our readers, we decide to compile and reprint some of his provocative pieces from the past. Let us know what you think.

The Difference Between Outcomes and Processes

A training outcome is the application of learned skills on the job. A training process is the usage of interactivity or engagement during the workshop (and afterwards) to reach that goal. Good measurement will evaluate both so we can identify course failures. Ultimately, I only care to engage or interact in order to more effectively reach my desired outcome. We don't train to engage. We engage because it ensures retention. We don't interact with the participants for the sake of interacting. We interact because it drives better application. Our goal is application on the job. Our process is a good design that engages.

Abolish Smile Sheets

If I were CFO, how would I evaluate a trainer in our organization? First, I would abolish smile sheets. They don't measure learning and they don't measure application on the job. Instead, I would want to know if what is being taught is properly applied on the job and more importantly, is that application positively affecting the business as predicted? If the answer is yes, then the trainer did his or her job. If the answer is no, then failure. As a CFO, there are no other considerations for evaluating training efficacy I care about in my evaluation. As CEO, I feel the same way.

A Simple Design Rule

Start with the end in mind. Answer this question: “What do you want the participants doing differently as a result of your program?” Now take that answer and either have them do it exactly as stated in a work environment or simulate it as a role play or an exercise. For example, if the course is on presentation skills, make the participants deliver a presentation. If it is on sales, make them make sales. If it is on leadership, they better lead something. Be sure you also have criteria to evaluate their output. Then, the next step is to create activities and to use content that support their ability to pass this final performance test. In other words, build the test and teach to it.