Thursday, 14 February 2013 03:12

Is Your Business Health at Risk from Self-Diagnosis?

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Diagnosis Self dreamstime m 27149049Managers could use their training budgets far more effectively if they thought about problems in their business the same way as they thought about their own health.

In a time when money is tight and training budgets are precious, part of the problem is that Managers often self-diagnose a problem in their business and go straight to the remedy, without often considering what all the symptoms are.

If you were ill, you might live with the illness for a while and try and plough through it, thinking that it will go away over time. But if the illness is a little more serious, only then do you go to the Doctor. It might seem obvious, but the Doctor doesn’t just hear what you have to say and then prescribe medication. To do their job properly, they ask questions, run some basic tests and confirm their thoughts with relevant data. If the illness is more serious, they may refer you to a specialist for further tests.

The same applies to business.

Managers often self-diagnose a problem and go looking for the quickest remedy, often without considering all of the symptoms first. The question should be ‘what are the behaviours that I need to address and change?’, not ‘What course will fix the problem?’ With the right diagnosis, the right prognosis and remedy can be provided.

Finding the right training solution to address a problem is the same as seeking a specialist to diagnose and treat an illness. A specialist training organisation can ask the right questions and conduct the right tests to identify the root cause of a problem in your business, not just a symptom.

I was asked recently to provide a quote for a 2-day leadership course. While part of me was more than happy to provide a proposal for two days of training, the most obvious question hadn’t been addressed – ‘What leadership behaviours are the Supervisors not currently doing to the required level?’ Was it implementing strategy, communicating to team members or effective delegation? Was it time management, not meeting targets or having difficult conversations? After completing our diagnostic tool, we agreed that the main problem was the cohesion between supervisors and the differing values and decisions that were being applied to the same workforce, causing confusion and frustration. Without this diagnosis, much of a two-day training course would have been wasted addressing a problem that wasn’t there, rather than focusing on the core issue.

So how do we avoid this situation? There are 5 steps to avoid self-diagnosis and potential waste of training funds.


1. Focus on the behaviour that you want to improve rather than the remedy.

Put into words what you actually want your people to be able to do and consider how you will recognize this change. Doe you want your people to ‘be better at communicating’ or do you want them  to ‘provide constructive feedback to their staff and superiors on a weekly basis’. If you can’t describe the behaviour that needs improving, refer to Pt. 2.


2. Get the right test, diagnostic or interview to advise you on what behaviour you want to improve.

Just like a good doctor, a good facilitator or training organisation will take the time to diagnose the problem you face. Would a GP prescribe medication before asking a question or taking your temperature / blood pressure etc? If the proposed provider hasn’t asked questions and moves straight to the solution, the chances of success are less likely.


3. Ensure the training provider is also focused on the required behaviours improvement.

Good training organisations will assess the skill level of your staff before training takes place and be able to measure improvement once it is completed. Whether this is an interview, 360 degree feedback tool or online assessment, the training organisation should discuss how they will demonstrate improvement.


4. When selecting a training provider, go to the right specialist.

A GP is a generalist who will refer to a specialist when your problem is specific. Unfortunately, training organisations rarely refer to others when they are out of their depth. Just because you have used a training organisation for sales training does not mean that they will also be good at project management or leadership. Also check their credentials – ask for references, testimonials and look for recommendations on LinkedIn. If other businesses haven’t trusted their business health with the provider, why should you?


5. Make sure you feel good at the end of the process.

If this was a medical problem you would know when you felt better - it would be when the symptoms stopped. Make sure you apply the same for your business. Has the behaviour that was being addressed improved? If not, what needs to change? Have you received a return on investment?


‘There is no need for a common cold to turn into business pneumonia because of lack of attention or misdiagnosis of a problem. Equally, there is no need for ongoing business health problems because of a poorly prescribed training initiative. Take the time to understand what you need and research your provider – the health of your business may depend on it.

Media Release - Is Your Business at Risk from Self-Diagnosis?

 Do you need help diagnosing the health of your business? Do you know the strengths and areas of development for your staff? Call Michael on 0409 627 270 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for an obligation free business health check.

Read 47158 times Last modified on Thursday, 14 February 2013 06:28

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'Michael is an extremely personable trainer who tailored the training content to deliver desired outcomes whilst reflecting the varied experience of participants. He was always punctual and respectful of the particpants knowledge base, and extremely supportive in the assessment process. I cannot speak highly enough of the training he delivered - from content to delivery - and would happily recommend his training to anyone.'

Lauren Thomas

Cert. IV in TAA

“Michael is an exceptional facilitator who manages to engage trainees entirely and work through subject matter efficiently while seeing results. His personality is friendly and approachable, allowing trainees to feel comfortable and supported in the learning environment, which ultimately maximizes their learning.”

Cate Hambling

Cert. IV in TAA

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