Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Selling half an idea

Anyone ever been on a training course? Did you (or your organisation) pay for it?

Here’s how it works. Somebody had an ‘insight’ or some other ‘good idea’ and realised that they could radically improve upon what everyone was doing before. Funnily enough this idea needed some jargon, acronyms and a book (for sale) to explain it. And some training courses.

You turn up to find the categories they use never quite work, the acronyms are just a leedle bit strained and the human behaviour explained is just a little bit too organised and simplified to be real. However, the descriptions ring true to the extent of raising a half smile of recognition as you sit there wondering who you fancy and what sort of biscuits they might have at break time. ‘Hey, people really are like this a bit aren’t they, when you think about it’ you think to yourself. ‘This guy really seems to have stumbled on something’.

Fact is he hasn’t. It’s a very slightly different way of looking at the ways that people behave. The sort of idea any of us might have over a pint. The difference is that this idea has been expanded into a book and sold. The sort of people who organise these sorts of things get really ‘excited’ and ‘passionate’ about the idea (and as everyone knows, only sex and music are worth the effort of excitement and passion). And before you know it you’re talking utter bollocks trying to put people into boxes and talking about the ‘kind’ of people they are and how to predict their behaviour or manage them. It’s like star signs really – and if you believe in them at all leave now.

You collect the notes, a copy of the PowerPoint show and nick a small packet of fruit shrewsburys on the way out after lying on the feedback form out of politeness to the hosts who were sort of OK, in the end. You put the notes in a drawer and put them in the bin when you leave that job. The information in your head disappeared before you’d got the bus home on the day. £300 a head or something. But it wasn’t the management theory from the 60’s. It was an update.

I'm going to write “The 7 life Changing Habits of Massive Wankers”. And "Discovering the Key to the Inner Self (of the Bloody Drone Office Worker)”.

Mind you, you got a day out of work. This course also adds to the Gross Domestic Product you know. And you could've at least spoken to the woman with the legs.


Colin said...

Hello John,

I have been on similar 'training' courses, and it's all been very David Brent really. On one occasion, the estate agent type, leading our session, drew a diagram of our organisation - as he saw it! - and it resembled a fried egg. Very insightful to know that I was working as a part of a fried egg (and I wasn't even part of the yoke!).

Conversely, I did once have a positive training experience. It was delivered by a friend who I have tremendous professional respect for, and it was fantastic. However, I suspect that this kind of quality is very much the exception.

All the best!

Colin said...

Hope all is well with you John. It's been a while since you lasted posted here. I'm worried that you may be too busy living a real life to post stuff here.

All the very best!

Flourishment said...

Hi John,

Hope you have a really cracking Christmas and New Year!

All the very best