10 Things I Learned from a Training Program That I Still Use Today

Kodak European Management Development Program
2000, Lausanne, Switzerland (can you find me?)

Having spent most of my career in corporate training, I’ve attended more training programs than the average bear. For some of them, the only recollection I have is pain and suffering, and regrets that I wasted so much time and gained so little in return.

However, there were a few that taught me things that I’ve used throughout my career and still use today.

While I sure hope there are more than 10 things that stuck, but here are the first 10 that came to mind:

1. How to design and facilitate meetings.

2. How to address a performance issue with an employee.

3. How to listen.

4. How to deal with conflict.

5. How to do a root cause analysis and a structured process for making decisions.

6. How to analyze and improve a process.

7. How to work with different countries and cultures.

8. How to remain open to possibilities (possibility thinking).

9. Situational leadership (how to adjust your approach based on the developmental needs of your employees).

10. How to prepare and make a presentation.

It’s an interesting exercise in that it made me think about if I was designing a training curriculum for managers, what skills would be the most important to include? However, everyone’s different, and your list may look very different than mine, so you’d need a good sample size to draw any conclusions.

I also found it interesting that I couldn’t think of a single thing I learned in college – Bachelors’ or Master’s – that I still use today on a regular basis. Hmmm, so maybe my college courses had a short half-life, I wasn’t paying attention other than memorizing what would be on the test, or I didn’t have an opportunity chance to immediately apply what I learned and keep using it over and over?

How about you? Thinking back over all of the formal training programs (or college courses) you’ve attended, what did you learn that you still use today on a regular basis?