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Is Time Management Training Worthwhile? – Wolfgang Halliwell

Posted April 23rd, 2007

When a friend of mine announced that she did not think time management training was worth doing, I had to take notice. She is an experienced trainer who had just started working for a large company and usually knows what she is talking about. Her comment did, however, cause me to question her, so she expanded on her statement.

She went on to explain that she had nothing against time management training in itself. Her issue was the way in which it was being used in her organisation.

Typically, line managers would send their staff on time management training whenever issues about efficiency or productivity cropped up. Little thought was being given to whether time management training was the right approach.

Her frustration stemmed from the fact that managers were effectively trying to fit the problem to the solution rather than the other way around. They were not making any real attempt to work with individuals to find the root cause of the issues they were having.

The outcome was that people were attending whole day training courses run by my friend but getting very little out of this. The training she inherited was generic and had not been tailored to the needs of the business, let alone the individual participants.

Over a bottle of wine we spent sometime discussing how to fix this problem, and came up with a plan.

Step One: My friend would contact all managers requesting time management training for their staff, and probe them so she could understand the need. This would include revisiting what has been discussed with individual staff members so far. In many cases individuals were not aware that their efficiency was in question.

Step Two: Where necessary, she would conduct some on job observation to understand the situation first hand.

Step Three: She would design a new training solution based on the needs of the business areas and linked to specific business issues. However, she would also make alternative recommendations in individual case where she considered time management training would not be appropriate.

Step Four: Individual nominees would be briefed by their line managers three weeks before the training. Both parties would agree the outcomes to be achieved. The individual participants would also be briefed to complete a daily time log for two weeks, to help identify how they use their time now. A key part of the training event would be to link with the briefing and the time log. Individuals would not be allowed to attend the training without completing this step.

Step Five: The training event itself would end with each individual producing a plan of action.

Step Six: Follow-up one to one coaching linked to the action plan produce during the training. . In some cases this would be carried out by the line and in some cases by my friend. The amount of time spent on this phase would depend on the needs of the individual. This important step ensures that the training is set down to practical outcomes.

With a proper structure now built around time management training my friend confessed to being confident of success. She also admitted that time management training is worthwhile after all. Or was that just the wine talking?

Wolfgang Halliwell is a learning and development consultant who has authored a number of courses for Trainer Bubble. You can purchase his one day course on Time Management at www.trainerbubble.com

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