Welcome to the world of training and development (T& D). Whether this is your first visit or you are a regular to training and consulting, we plan to guide you through all the facets of the field. The material for this book has been provided by other writers in the field, as well as from our personal experiences in training and in teaching courses in T & D.
In this second edition we have enhanced the material in each chapter. We have incorporated the suggestions provided by our students and our colleagues. We have upgraded the discussion of technology while recognizing that any information put in print will be outdated by the time it reaches your hands. With that technology explosion in mind, we have focused on broad-based material rather than suggesting which specific software you should use.
T & D is the process through which companies and other organizations help managers and employees improve performance and increase job satisfaction. In training. the improved performance relates specifically to the individual’s job skills. An executive assistant, for example, would get training in word-processing skills; an accountant would be trained in new tax laws; and a manager would be trained in performance-appraisal methods. In development, the improved performance relates to broader skills that may do two things: prepare an employee or manager for a position with increased responsibilities; and enhance an individual’s personal life as well as his or her work performance. Workshops in communication, individual goal setting, values clarification, career enhancement, management styles, and related topics would help individuals perform better at work, but they also could affect their personal lives and relationships. Training tends to be job specific. Development tends to focus on the individual.
Communication relates to training and development in two ways. First, communication is a field in itself—an area in which all companies and organizations, and employees and managers at all levels, continually need improvement. Engineers, medical and health professionals, accountants, construction workers. secretaries, managers, and attorneys, among others, are skilled in their professions and trades but not in ways to communicate effectively with coworkers. bosses. employees, customers, clients, and associates. Second, communication is the medium through which all other skills and information are delivered. Training and development specialists in all fields need effective communication skills to train employees and to develop their potential. This book addresses both ways communication relates to training and development. It presents training and development skills in the field of communication, and it presents communication skills to use in any area of training and development. Clearly, we view training and development and communication as interrelated. Each of the processes that is used in communication training and development can be used in the general field of training and development.
This book is unique in several ways:
We are both experienced consultants. One of us is a professor of communication who uses his expertise to serve as a consultant to firms and organizations. The other, president of a management consulting firm, has successfully served client companies nationwide since 1980 and was the speaker on videotapes and audiotapes marketed nationally by a New York firm.
We give specific “how-tos,” making the book practical and applicable in its orientation. The “how-tos” are spelled out in a step-by step method, allowing the reader to go beyond “knowing how” and actually carry out these steps.
We include numerous anecdotes based on our experiences in training and development. These anecdotes serve to make the information relevant and memorable.
We address the subtle, but often crucial, ways in which office politics affect training and development. We also give practical suggestions about ways to deal with politics.
We present the information in a style that is lively, conversational, and easy to read.
We wrote this book to fill two big gaps—the practical application of training and development principles in the field of communication. and the practical application of communication principles in the field of training and development. This book is more than just “about” communication or training and development—it shows you how to do it.
To use this book to full advantage, the reader can think of places he or she has worked or groups to which he or she has belonged, and see how the points and skills described in the book would apply. The practical nature of this book makes it applicable to innumerable settings.
The book will benefit university juniors and seniors in communication, management, or adult education. It is a must for training and development classes, and an excellent supplement for management courses and adult education classes. Instructors may want to assign student teams to conduct actual needs assessments—described step-by-step in the book-in local companies and organizations. Or, students could be assigned to present actual workshops—also described in the book—to the class.
So, if you are looking for a history on the progression of the field of training and development, we suggest you consult some other books and articles highlighted in the bibliography. We decided a practical, easy-to-read book could make a greater contribution to the development of effective trainers. We hope you will agree with us.
William E. Arnold and Lynne McClure