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The Seven C’s

February 18, 2009

It wasn’t that long ago that the only way we could move from continent to continent was by sailing across the ocean. The mariners of those times knew that it was just as important to know how they were going to get there as it was to know where “there” was.

These sailors plied their craft and travelled vast oceans to reach their destination, with naught but their wits and the knowledge of the seas that surrounded them. If you only knew a part of the world, you were limited in where you could go an what route you could take. To reach across the globe and berth in every port, these adventurers seafarers sailed the seven seas.

Of course the number of water bodies referred to as a ‘sea’ easily outnumber 7 (there are over 70), but I still use this analogy to introduce the seven key principles of effective training delivery.

The seven seas (C’s) of training

Although there are many facets of training that must be understood to make it efficient and effective, I’ve found that by focussing trainers on these seven key points, we can improve the training process rapidly.

For training to be at its most effective, concentrate on:

  • Content: Content is king. Without it you have no product, no vehicle to reach the training objectives and your students will need to plot their own perilous path to competency. These materials have additional guidelines that you need to apply so that you create a efficient, clear and engaging route for the student to take
  • Collaboration: You need to student’s co-operation and enthusiasm for the subject to help them reach the training outcomes. This is a shared vision that must continue when you aren’t there and motivate the student into finding new and more effective approaches. Like wise they need to respond to feed back and give it freely.
  • Consistency: Each member of the team must work toward the same objectives and share the same direction. Trainers must be consistent in their practices and the delivery of matter that they teach. Contradictions or uncertainty lead to misunderstandings and friction. Friction reduces efficiency and delays the results.
  • Communication: Communication with the student is essential. It is just as important that this extends to all members of the team, including other workers, management, and is some cases customers. This means explaining what is occurring, what the objectives are, why we doing it and how everyone can help. Communicate honestly, sincerely, with courtesy and regularly.
  • Credibility: Hand in hand with credibility is trust. The student must trust the trainers, trust the information that they give and trust that they have the best interests of the student in mind. Credibility is also reliability. The student must be able to rely on the trainer to assist them and provide the best advice. Credibility is like dangling car keys over a storm grate; if lost, it is very difficult to find and can result in long shameful walk that didn’t need to happen.
  • Consideration: Consider the student and their needs. Consider the environment – is the training going to effect others, operational performance or the public perception of the organisation. Consideration doesn’t necessarily mean action. We also need to consider the objectives of the organisation and the priority of the training over operational requirements.
  • Commitment: Success requires a commitment from everybody in the process. Commitment to the training plan and its objectives, commitment to the student and their success, commitment to improving the training process and achieving better results. Motivation is like laughter, catching to all within earshot, but like laughter, a single person can act in such a way to bring the efforts of the team to a standstill.

A lack of any one of these can quickly ruin any chance of obtaining your desired objectives, but like most things in life, it tends to be a multitude of subtle challenges that hinder our efforts. Larger flaws are more obvious, as is the likely outcome should we choose to ignore them. It’s when we face these less obvious barriers to efficiency that we often fail to identify what needs to be done or where we should focus our efforts.

For me and my team, when we want to look at where we should target our resources at improving training, we start with the Seven C’s.


Download my free e-book NOW YOU TELL ME The seven things that I wish I’d known before I started training on the job.

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