Corporate training programs and problem solving

Why Corporate Training Programs Fail | How Problem-Solving Works


Many companies simply miss the mark in way of corporate training programs. Busy managers are sent on business writing skills, and conflict resolution courses that have little or no impact on either the organisation or the employee. We learn best when our learning helps solve immediate issues that we are facing and when feedback is quick to accelerate our learning.

Why Corporate Training and Problem-Solving Skills are Essential in the Modern World


Many companies simply miss the mark in way of corporate training programs. Busy managers are sent on business writing skills, and conflict resolution courses that have little or no impact on either the organisation or the employee. 

We learn best when our learning helps solve immediate issues that we are facing and when feedback is quick to accelerate our learning.

In 2020*, we spent $357.7B on corporate training and this was down from $370.3B in 2019 before COVID.

  • 75% of 1,500 managers surveyed from across 50 organizations were dissatisfied with their company’s Learning & Development (L&D) function;
  • 70% of employees report that they don’t have mastery of the skills needed to do their jobs;
  • Only 12% of employees apply new skills learned in L&D programs to their jobs; and
  • Only 25% of respondents to a recent McKinsey survey believe that training measurably improved performance.

The problem with corporate training is that employees forget the information very quickly especially when the training does not directly relate to the current challenges, issues, and skill gaps our teams are facing.

Research shows that we forget about 75% of what we learn within a matter of just 6 days unless we actually apply it.

So it’s not just that we tend to lose them if they are not being used, we do lose them. It’s as simple as that.

With corporate training, it is essential that the skills learned are applied and used in order to see any improvement or results. Training must be relevant to the employees’ current challenges and needs in order to make an impact. Training is an expensive business that we know is important, but are we willing to accept that only 25% of our colleagues believe that training actually improves performance in any shape or form?

So how do we build Corporate Training Programs that make an actual difference?


This is where Lean Learning is useful. Lean learning is always about maximising the creation of value for our customers (our colleagues and the end customer) while making sure we reduce the waste from the entire learning experience.

We have to have corporate training programs that:


  • make sure that the training is directly related to challenges/issues colleagues are facing

  • Use spaced repetition to reduce what is forgotten by reviewing the material at regular intervals with gradually increasing gaps between each review

  • ensure that what is being taught can be immediately applied to real-world projects or even better, work on real-world projects in the training

  • build ongoing support networks following the training so colleagues can discuss the application of the learning to real-world examples and create space to explore topics further

  • we activate peer learning by providing ways to share learning and expand conversations through discussion workshops and networks

  • And to continually incentivise learning throughout performance reviews

So what about developing Problem-Solving Skills?


It’s relevant to everyone’s role. With the constant changes we are experiencing across all businesses, the ability to identify what is going wrong and navigate solutions is critical. Many companies see problems as issues, but if term problems as opportunities, then everyone has some opportunity to make improvements to what they do.

It can be applied immediately. Successful corporate problem-solving training programs, combine learning with practical real-world projects. At Leanscape, we don’t just teach. We first prepare the groundwork to ensure everyone brings real-world projects to the workshop so they can apply what is being learned with short fast feedback loops. The colleagues can quickly deliver business outcomes and gain those lightbulb moments.

It’s a meta-skill that helps all areas. A meta-skill is a skill that helps you to learn other skills. When you develop problem-solving skills, you are learning how to turn opportunities into improvements. You are learning the tools, the thought processes and the techniques that can be applied to any problem or opportunity.

It provides the basis for mentoring. Rather than training being provided and then users left on their own, training and mentoring continue throughout the real-world project putting learning into practice and allowing the benefit of self-directed project learning. Learners are invested in their own projects, the learning supports them and the mentor can help them navigate challenges.

It’s measurable. Unlike most training programs, the benefits of real-world projects can be measured. In fact, this is all part of the problem-solving training and learning how to show the benefit of the identified solution. With tangible return on investments, the program is no longer a cost, but a true investment in the people and the business results. At Leanscape, we target a 5x Return On Investment, but many projects can achieve high returns.

How to Provide Corporate Training in Problem-Solving Skills

To offer Corporate Problem Solving Training, there are a number of foundations required:


  1. You need dedicated people to support the program who can provide the training, coaching and mentoring. This could be internal experts or you can leverage external help while developing the skills

  2. We recommend a full suite of training delivery methods that include in-person training, virtual masterclass training and online self-paced courses.

  3. You should have access to an L&D platform that can be used to manage the courses and progress of online material and also provide regular updates and micro-learnings to stimulate long-term application

  4. The material needs to be relevant to your organisation. Generic online material (such as LinkedIn Learning) has the same risks that candidates will not apply the knowledge. They will not relate it to their own environments and roles. And they will quickly forget 75% of it in 6 days!

  5. You will also need a selection of courses that target different roles and seniority within the organisation. A shorter course (such as a Lean Yellow Belt Course) can be targeted to a wider audience, whereas for those in management roles (and high performers), a Lean Green Belt Course is more appropriate. If you are building internal experts, then the Black Belt Course is needed. Or perhaps an Agile Course for Project Managers and developers?

  6. You will also need a little patience. Real-world problems can take time to solve and anything from 2 to 9 months is needed for a Yellow to the Black belt respectively.

  7. And lastly, you need to be ready with someone in finance who can validate the project benefits. The savings may be financial hard savings or perhaps soft/cost avoidance savings. They may be operational KPI performance improvements or projects which improve customer experience and are harder to quantify.

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Reagan Pannell

Reagan Pannell

Reagan Pannell is a highly accomplished professional with 15 years of experience in building lean management programs for corporate companies. With his expertise in strategy execution, he has established himself as a trusted advisor for numerous organisations seeking to improve their operational efficiency.

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