There is the old cliche that train companies should have realized they were in the transportation business and invented and embraced airplanes. This always seemed a bit dim to me. There was just not that much value-add they could have, well, added.
I bring this up because I think a lot about the training business. I don't mean the vendors, but the internal training group. What is the best model for them? For any group, what is their "brand," and what is their core competency? How can they grow that? To the degree that they have investment dollars, where should they be taking risks?
There is a trendiness in which the training industry seems to get sucked up. Every new technology captures our imagination. "Training should be more like TiVo, or cell phones, or web pages, or iPods, or Segways..."
Yet the canary in our coalmine is training people in management skills. Most organizations, if they are honest, are terrible at training at a higher level than entry level. There are a few exceptions, of course, but not many. The implications of this are staggering. One is that the people at the top of an organization don't look at training very fondly. The training group was not a key ingredient in the assent. Training is for someone else, not me. Another implication is that most managers are horribly trained. That impacts stock price and, frankly, our GDP.
I am not saying that we should stick to an early twentieth century notion of training as a teacher boring conscripted students. Quite the opposite. But I am saying that our mission, our reason for being, if it is not enabling higher-level skills is enabling low-level skills. And that seems like a lost opportunity.