The Critical Role Training Can Play in Building Your Company’s Future

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“Kodak’s Fall Wasn’t about Technology,” an article that Scott Anthony published in Harvard Business Review on July 15th, gives a compelling case study of how Kodak fell from a position of leadership in the world of consumer photography. It makes for fascinating – and troubling – reading. Did you know, for example, that Kodak developed the first digital camera way back in 1975, but failed to bring a competitive product to market? Or that Fuji, which lagged behind Kodak in the days of film photography, pulled ahead (and stays there) because it started selling copiers and other secondary business lines?

Mr. Anthony’s is the managing partner of the innovation and growth consulting firm Innosight. His article isn’t about training per se. However, he does propose three critical questions that companies should be asking as they try to remain competitive during periods of technological change.

If you want to remain competitive in fast-changing times, his questions are important to consider when you are developing training programs for both new and established employees. We believe they can also be used to lift the level of group discussions in training sessions that are taking place for your current employees, managers and top leadership team.

Scott Anthony’s Three Questions

  • What business are we in today? –  Anthony writes that answer to this question should center on the problem that you are solving for your customers.
  • What new opportunities does current disruption in our industry create for us? – Anthony notes that disruption always grows market and changes business models.
  • What capabilities do we need to realize these opportunities? – We think this question is especially useful when designing training programs for your employees. If you don’t train people to do the things that can keep you competitive, how can you remain successful?

In summary . . .

Training developers should always consider ways to teach the skills your business needs to operate today. But the value of the training they create increases when they also ask “bigger” forward-thinking questions like the ones that Scott Anthony proposes.