Yesterday I dropped my eldest at York University to begin her Masters Degree. It was one of those ‘once in a lifetime’ days that you only ever get one shot at.
So naturally, we’d ‘designed’ it to within an inch of its life!!
We are organized as a family at the best of times: having had no back up in terms of extended family we’ve always have to ‘measure twice and cut once’ with everything we do. No-one can rescue us if things go wrong. Plus it turns out that one (and probably two) of us are autistic, which means that predictability is even more important.
So we had lists, timetables, routes (and alternative routes), we had done research, taken advantage of the webinars and familiarisation visits, got the contact details of a couple of essential people should things go terribly wrong. We’d talked through our expectations of the day: my daughter’s needs came first (she is the key stakeholder/client) yet my husband and I have real-life experience that we could draw on to advise and recommend. We’d also cross-checked our understanding of certain things… luckily!
We’d even planned the emotional aspects. Everyone told me I’d cry when we left her there. I didn’t. Yes, I had to take a deep breath, but I felt that we’d set her up as well as we could and I knew how much she wanted to be there.
And for exactly the same reasons, taking time to properly design training is vital. It isn’t a ‘nice to do’ if you get time. It’s crucial for success. If you want to get it right first time. you have to:
- Know your key stakeholders and what success looks like to them
- Be really clear about the outcome you are trying to achieve
- Do your research so you don’t rely on outdated information or reinvent the wheel
- Use all the resources available to you to put together the best (and most sensible) solution
- Identify the things (content) that matters, and that which doesn’t really add value
- Realistically plan your day, creating a realistic timetable that is focused yet has a little flexibility
- Build in alternatives that still allow you to achieve your objectives if your main plan hits unexpected challenges
- Talk through your design with someone else to make sure you haven’t overlooked something OR have got something wrong
- Visualise yourself running that day (the brain then feels it’s been there, done that and that makes everything easier on the day)
- Make a checklist to ensure that your last-minute prep is just that!
Even if you’re running a course on a topic you know well for your own organisation or a regular client, you only get to run THAT course ONCE for those particular participants. You owe it to them to get it as right as possible.
And as for my daughter’s first day…
It went brilliantly.
You might say it was down to good luck, but I know it was down to good design.
Good design reduces the risks associated with ANY event significantly, so why wouldn't you design your training properly?