Great training is about exploring the unknown unknowns

Training for unknown unkowns

If you don’t know that you don’t know something, how can you come to know it?

As we begin the New Year, most thoughts as standard turn to personal growth and renewal. We look back at the past year and think about what we could have done that little bit better. We look at everyone around us and wonder about how we might make that little bit of a bigger impact on their lives. We definitely look inside ourselves and ask what more there is to come. Analysing the known unknowns is always a great first step.

However, the biggest insights can come when we look outside of our frame of reference.

Given the limitless potential of the human spirit, training (and learning per se) is one of those areas where utterly unexpected changes in performance are always possible. However, because they are not expected (we know how challenging measuring the ROI on all training can be), organisations tend to focus on what they know that they don’t know. This will take them from good to better, but will it take them from good to great and truly improve employee productivity. Unlikely.

In our work sourcing training programmes for various large corporates, our most successful clients have given us creative licence to suggest solutions that they may not be aware of. We work with lots of similar companies, so why not explore a few solutions which they may not be thinking of themselves. This openness to explore what was previously unknown requires a large amount of trust, but the feedback is unanimously positive.

Searching your feelings to find out what you don’t know takes determination. Taking a deep dive to plug that gap in your life takes resolve. Admitting that you should be doing things a little differently takes courage.

Effecting change is hard, but it only happens after a voyage of discovery.

I suppose that is what I enjoy so much about January musings. Not only am I looking at what I might do better in my life, the majority of the people that I talk to are at the same point. Companies are pondering how to spend their personal development budgets – they are open to doing something different, but somehow many end up spending money on the same old things, every year.

Being content knowing what you don’t know won’t bring new insights.

Exploring your unknown unknowns will.

However, because you don’t know what you don’t know, external guidance is essential. Managers will be having chats with their people about their goals from the year and L&D and HR departments will be having chats with their training providers. However, even this brings potential problems…. They may have been working with a certain provider for years, but they simply don’t know who else is out there and where they can make a difference.

For me, that is where our training sourcing service comes in.

We open up a world of possibilities for companies wishing to explore their development needs. All this language might be a bit silly, but when you genuinely don’t know what you don’t know, working with an external partner can often be hugely rewarding.

Our initial conversations usually end along the lines of: “Wow, that sounds amazing. I didn’t know that this sort of training existed. Or could be delivered in this way. Let’s book it in.”

With this attitude and new found knowledge, step changes in employee productivity are sure to be just around the corner.

If you need any help sourcing training for your organisation please do get in touch and we can help you explore your unknown unknowns on 0845 519 7408 or email