4 By Tim Mooney and Robert O. Brinkerhoff, Berrett-Koehler, 244 pp., $29.95
We have to try not to be put off by the title of the book here (What's next? "Valorous Budgeting?"). Given some estimates that training actually works about 20 percent of the time, it takes courage to develop new learning initiatives in today's organizations, given all the obstacles we face, such as indifferent leaders, time pressures, lack of incentives to change, and the top dog: cynicism. It's a wonder anybody goes into training as a profession.
That aside, the authors begin by telling us why training does not work most of the time, which may be the most important part of the book for practitioners trying to diagnose their own problems. What we're often left with is a "culture of low expectations" and a high-cost, low-value result.
To combat this environment, Tim Mooney and Robert Brinkerhoff present a conceptual framework, the Four Pillars of Courageous Training, and a Courageous Training Code to follow. The Pillars (i.e., tell it like it is with truthful measurement and evaluation) are easy to say and hard to do, but without them, I agree we are toast. But the real beauty of the book is in the four cases studies, which involve different types of organizations that have, in the authors' eyes, succeeded against all odds.
If you are attempting to redefine what training and development mean in your organization, this book would be a terrific tool with which to proceed.