This Fatal Evaluation Error Could Cost You Your Job

March 9, 2016

Just because the Kirkpatrick Model is the most-used training evaluation model in the world does not mean that it is always implemented correctly.

Are you making fatal execution errors without even realizing it?

Read on to learn how your well-intentioned efforts to show the impact of your training programs could cost you your job.

One fatal execution error that we see quite often is training professionals attempting to isolate the impact of training on final organizational results. The reality is that isolation is impossible (or so difficult as to be a waste of the resources employed to complete the calculation), and non-productive. 

Diederick Stoel, a colleague in Amsterdam, once said, “Those who seek to isolate will become isolated themselves.” We wrote this down and refer to it often because we believe it to be true.

Here is an everyday example. Let’s say that your doctor has advised that you will have a longer and healthier life if you lose 25 pounds. You decide to follow the advice, and embark on a diet and exercise plan including the following factors:

  • Working with a personal trainer to create a fitness plan
  • Exercising for 30 minutes per day, six days per week
  • Meeting with a nutritionist for a personalized diet plan
  • Eating only the foods allowed in the diet plan
  • Drinking 64 ounces of water each day
  • Sleeping an average of eight hours per night

You diligently follow your diet, exercise and rest plan, and you lose 25 pounds!

Now, suppose the personal trainer wanted to take credit for the majority of your weight loss due the excellent fitness plan he created for you 90 days ago. As the person who worked hard for three months, you might be offended by this attempt. Your point of view would likely be that your hard work and adherence to all six factors created your success.

Apply this metaphor to training as part of a large organizational initiative. Let’s say it’s a leadership program aimed at reducing cycle time to increase revenue through training, mentoring, role-modeling and increased reporting. Attempting to isolate the impact of the formal training class at the start of the initiative is basically discounting and disrespecting the contributions of other factors.

It is the same as saying:

  • “Managers who meet with supervisors to encourage and guide them, you don’t count.”
  • “Leaders who hold direct reports accountable for behavior change, you don’t count, either.”
  • “Training participants who continue their education with self-directed learning on the job, sorry, we’re not accounting for that in our report.”
  • “All of you who go out of your way to help the person next to you when things get tough, we’re factoring you out of this calculation.”

We doubt this is the message that you want to send to your organization, and to all of the people who contributed to the initiative. Instead of seeking to isolate the impact of your training, gather data on all of the factors that contributed to the success of the initiative, and give credit where credit is due. This way, your role is not simply to deliver training, but to create and orchestrate organizational success.

Training and the business ideally will share roles and responsibilities. Managers will be on board with what was learned during training so that they can provide a supportive environment in which training participants can apply those learnings.

If and when you identify obstacles in the way of reaching the highest-level mission of the organization, you will work with stakeholders and supervisors to determine root causes and implement appropriate interventions.

Again, this team effort requires breaking away from an isolationist mentality. This makes you a strategic business partner who contributes to your organization’s competitive advantage and is therefore indispensable. Those who fail to set themselves up as strategic business partners may soon find themselves and their jobs obsolete.

Are you interested in learning about other fatal Kirkpatrick Model execution errors that you may be making, and how to fix them? Then you won’t want to miss our newest, free webinar on March 23.

Click here for more information and to register.

Join the Discussion

What methods have you used to show the value of your training without being isolationist? We’d love to hear. Here are some ways to join the conversation:

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Additional Resources

Kirkpatrick Four Levels® Evaluation Certification Program – Bronze Level

Bringing Business Partnership to Life

Fatal Kirkpatrick® Model Execution Errors: Practical Tips for Identifying and Correcting Them

Training Strategy Mistake #3: Being Less Than Truthful with Stakeholders

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