Wisdom is a product of longevity. It comes as a result of experiences-good and bad. I have always learned more from failure and as a result, I embrace it. In the leadership business having a tough skin helps. Trial and error has proven to be an acceptable way to proceed. Navigating the unknown can be productive.

There are many things that a leader must do-none more important than getting those he or she leads to a higher level of accomplishment. It is that goal that will determine a team’s level of success or the depth of their failure.

It is something that needs to be thought about, studied, analyzed and discussed. Making people better is no small issue. And when all the thinking is done and the dust has settled, few would argue that education and training are inextricably linked to performance. Put people in a classroom, (it can be in cyberspace) fill their heads, and excellence will prevail. It’s a noble notion but the reality of what makes people excel is more complex.

People are different-physically, mentally, and emotionally. What impacts one is lost on another. It is for that reason that an effective training program has multiple objectives. To start with, it should answer the questions who, what, when, where, why and how. The expense associated with the training process warrants the time. For years I took the egalitarian approach. Everyone is treated equally. Everyone gets the deal.

Training expenditures soared and yet in many instances, performance didn’t mirror it. At the time I didn’t know that desire and initiative were critical components of individual endeavor. Identifying who wanted to be trained and who would capitalize on the experience was important. You never know for sure who will rise to the occasion but there are ways to proceed that will optimize results. One is to start small. Knowledge can be found in many places. Some conquer the world after reading a book.

In every organization there are those that have not earned the right to be trained. It is okay for the organization to expect professionalism without having to pay for it. You can call it a condition of employment. As people perform with hard work, loyalty and commitment, the rules change. As you give, you receive. Training becomes a reward. It also sends a message that the organization values your presence. Until that happens, save those training dollars for those who are worthy.

Once you’ve decided to make an investment in training, go with your gut. If it doesn’t feel right, it may not be right for you. Hype sells but is frequently vanquished on the field of battle. Not everything needs to be complicated. Sure there are complex issues that challenge every organization and it takes complex thinkers to address them. But much of what leads to success is relatively simple and when we take simple and make it complex we may have enhanced the problem. For training to be effective it needs to be clear, accurate, memorable, energizing and actionable. Training involves quid pro quo. In all training, it should be understood and agreed upon that the day the participants finish, they must be better than the day they began.