From Training to Profits

When Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz teamed up to form the venture firm a16z, they gave everyone a bonus:  A blog.

Andreessen (the as good as child prodigy who created Netscape - then in his adolescence, LoudCloud...and he's still a baby) started up a blog that was a good read and fun.  It's called  Then he took a break.

When he came back again, there was a completely different strategy for that blog.  It was an entree to the blog of his partner, Ben Horowitz (another of those Netscape/LoudCloud prodigies).  That eponymous blog (ben's blog) is a different story altogether.

For whatever reason, Horowitz decided, along with being a venture capitalist, that he was going to become a teacher - and a great one he is.

Every one of his posts has valuable information on everything from strategy to structure to pitching your plan to anything you could possibly imagine (and far more) if you're entering into the world of entrepreneurialism.

But, whether he knows it or not, almost every single post of his applies just as much in one way or another to every size organization in every industry across sectors.  Countries, too.

This time, he takes on training - why it's important and how to ensure your training programs translate to profits.  Even though he's talking start-ups, his points apply to every training program to be considered.

For my part, and as you well know if you've read my writings over the years, the points that I agree with most are upfront in his piece:

  • Training provided by outside vendors/external consultants is, more often than not, underwhelming
  • This is because, at least in part, these external providers don't know - nor do they make the real effort to know - your organization and
  • The more that management is directly involved in the training program - the so-called "cascade" system - the greater the application, speed, ROI and profitability of the training provided.
Unless you get smart - really smart - about your training programs, you're wasting your employees' time and lots of money.  You're also killing morale, which means you're working from a deficit position when you bring in the next training program - no matter how good it is.  Your people will expect the worst - again.

So be smart and be directed.  Most important, be involved.  You'll see the benefits immediately.

Just like Ben says.

For more information about how executives and managers can drive training to profits in your organization, check out The Executive Field Guides.