Magazine article Training & Development

Nightmare on HRD Street

Magazine article Training & Development

Nightmare on HRD Street

Article excerpt

YOU KNOW HOW IT GOES. IN THE TRAINER'S NIGHTMARE, YOU'RE STANDING IN FRONT OF A GROUP AND YOU HAVEN'T ANY IDEA WHO THE GROUP MEMBERS ARE OR WHAT YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO DO. FORTUNATELY, IT'S ONLY A DREAM. OR IS IT?

You're peacefully tucked in for a good night's sleep, snuggled under the covers and wearing your favorite jammies. Soon you drift off, perhaps dreaming of tropical islands, white sandy beaches, and crystal blue waters. Just when you thought it was safe, the trainer's nightmare surfaces.

Trainees run amuck, the trainer has lost control of the situation, and Murphy's Law prevails.

My own version of the trainer's nightmare goes something like this: I'm standing in front of a group of employees who are strangers to me. As I stare at the sea of faces, I decide that some of them must be production people; I hear clanking coming from their tool belts. Others in the group are definitely executives; they're mumbling into small black objects. Some of the employees snap calculator tape at me. Accountants, I surmise. A faction of eerily cheery people sits in the corner of the room wearing headsets, looking in my direction, and asking, "May I help you? May I help you?" Ah, the customer-service people. Then I notice a couple of techie types bent over their laptop computers. They are busy trying to see how many floppies they can fit into one disk drive.

The nightmare part is that I realize I'm expected to train these people.

Terrified, I look down to find a huge coffee stain on my clothes. On my feet are my well-worn bunny slippers; a piece of toilet tissue trails from the left heel.

The group gives me a fishy look. I turn to the flipchart behind me for a sign, any sign. On the flipchart is the handwritten message, "We eat trainers for lunch." I turn back to the group to see a couple of the production people using a staple gun to affix one of the executives to the employee-benefits chart.

I decide to bluff. That's what trainers do when they've waited until they're on the way to a training session to start preparing it.

I spy one of the accountants flipping a quarter in the air. That gives me the idea to talk about change. Any model can fit into change, I smirk. I begin drawing on the flipchart. As I draw, the marking pen grows like Pinocchio's nose. …

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