Worst training ever

The context

I subjected myself yesterday to what was probably the worst training I ever participated in. The subject matter was the new ISO 10018 guideline on Human Resources management. I won’t mention the provider, because it really was too embarrassing for words.

What went wrong?

First, we paid for the training. If you pay, even a small amount in excess of 250 euro per person, you expect a decent training, with motivated people.

A replacement keynote speaker

The training started with the keynote speaker having been admitted to the hospital not 12 hours earlier. That’s not predictable, hence I really don’t make an issue out of that. However, the person replacing him was not adequately briefed on the presentation and the subject matter. We touched all the slides briefly, went slightly in-depth on some other slides which had little relevance regarding the subject matter, and did not cover what was essential in the presentation deck.

A duo-presentation with a so-called expert

The keynote speaker was supported by a so-called experience expert. Interesting, were it not that this person had clearly only put a couple of thoughts or ideas on paper a couple of hours prior to the presentation. If he had actually prepared it, I would be ashamed of being him. A couple of bullets on a piece of paper, no supporting material, difficult to follow, and so totally convinced of his added value to the world …
At this point, I should have left, but I did not as I respected my colleagues who were there. But then it got worse.

A drunk Dutch consultant

Enter an older person, which I had a run-in with earlier during the presentation because I “dared” to question the relevance of the presentations and the subject matter. His materials were filled with language errors and typo’s and he clearly did not understand the subject matter which was supposed to be his expertise. This was an ISO consultant, expert in certification, who did nothing but mention a methodology without clarifying its added value nor its relevance in the context of the training. He also, sadly, appeared to be drunk, and fell asleep a bit later. Luckily for him, and sadly for us, not during his own presentation.

What went right

A testimonial from the field

The last speaker of the day was a woman who came with a testimonial from a HR change process she had managed herself, in a larger organization in Belgium. This true to life testimonial was a breath of fresh air in an otherwise largely irrelevant showcase for a number of low to medium quality consultants which I would not dare to ask money for.

In conclusion – a word of advice to consultants

If you invite people to a seminar with a title such as ISO 10018, please try to make sure that at least part of the training is about your subject matter. If you plan on doing a showcase for consultants, don’t ask me for money.