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Learning is meaningless unless you also achieve behavior change. Too many organizations invest time and money training in order to improve performance only to find that, when the training is over, performance does not improve. Been there? It’s called the Training-Do Gap.

mind-the-gap_signFirst, let’s understand why this happens. At least two reasons. Training programs often focus too heavily on theory and neglect commitment to specific action. Within three months of a training event, people forget about 80 percent of what they have learned without learning reinforcement.

Now we can address how to keep from falling into the Training-Do Gap.

What’s the capital of Turkmenistan? I’m sure you’ve heard at one time or another that it’s Ashgabat. But if you want to keep that fact in your readily accessible memory, you have to use it. Use it or lose it.

It takes even more discipline to close the Learning-Do Gap when you go beyond national capitals to leadership development. I offer four steps to ensure that you retain what you learn in How to Create an Effective Leadership Learning Plan. In brief, they are:

1. Create a Learning Plan
Decide what you need to retain and what else you want to learn. Then launch your learning endeavor.

2. Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals
Make your learning goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound.

3. Implement a Learning Process
Use the learning techniques that work best for you. Highlight text, make margin notes, create cue cards—whatever it takes.

4. Be held Accountable
Report to someone. Make them hold you accountable to your plan and to your progress.

Naturally our CoachQuest Leader-as-Coach program practices these disciplines. We begin with a two-day workshop and provide follow-up support with sustainable learning tools to increase retention and implementation.

Learn more about CoachQuest.


Helanie Scott
Helanie Scott
Helanie (pronounced yeh-LAH-nee) Scott, CEO and founder of Align4Profit in Dallas, Texas, has driven stunning leadership and cultural transformations for an impressive list of organizations. She has mastered the ability to connect with her audiences in the boardroom, classroom, on stage, or in one-on-one coaching sessions. Helanie’s Align4Profit clients rave at the way her engaging programs freshen outdated mindsets and deliver results-oriented, aligned action.