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Project Management Training in Europe and in the USA. Part 2

Ok, this is the second part of my blog on training in Europe and the USA. I didn’t get much feedback on the first one. I think the timing may have been too short, plus July is often a month when we have other things on our mind rather than project management.

Anyway… the premise of Part 1 is that European training programs are more targeted to high potential candidates and appear to do more to integrate networking and training into the same events. Whether you agree with the stereotypical view that one approach is European while the other is American, I think it is clear that different organizations approach the design of training programs differently. And I think there are pros and cons with each approach.

By targeting high potentials in the organization and providing a more integrated experience with networking time and activities outside of the classroom, the European approach gives more of an “I am special” feeling. The participants are often selected by their managers and they do tend to look at the training as a stepping stone in their career. However, they are sometimes not at the right level for the training. They may be too senior or too junior. After all, the main selection criteria are often not if they need the training, but rather if they are on a certain career path.

The American training system, by having more of an open enrollment approach, gets people who want to be in the class (after all it was their choice) and often these are people who will benefit from the training. But, they don’t feel special, so their general attitude is often that they want to learn but the company will not support their use of what they learned later. On the down side, you tend to get some people who just like to be in the classroom without needing the training.

So how do you decide? My suggestion is that the company offer a basic curriculum, in-house or through educational institutions, where the students can decide if they need the training or not (open enrollment). But that you also offer some “high talent” program where key employees are selected and go through advanced training, customized for your organization. I don’t think this is required for PM101 or any 101 classes. But when you get into advanced leadership topics, it is more important that the right people are there.

What do you think? Please leave your Comments below

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