Key Questions to Maximize the Impact of Your “Training Initiatives”

Between 85 and 90% of sales training has no lasting impact beyond 90 days.
Sales Benchmark Index

Recently, we were asked by a Private Banking Executive Leader, “What questions can you share that would help us ferret out training and development opportunities?”

As confirmed by the statistic above, traditional training programs do not result in a productivity impact that makes it worth the time and expense required. This is the reason so many front-line professionals are so jaded when it comes to “training”. When required to engage in training, they simply focus on getting through the minimum requirements as quickly and painlessly as possible with the hope that maybe they will pick up one or two ideas that will help them in their practice… and then go back to the way they have always done it.

With that in mind, below is the response I sent to this executive leader in an attempt to guide him in overcoming the “training challenge” and establish a program that is engaging to the front line, maximizes his ROI, and makes a clear impact on their clients and the productivity and culture of the organization.

Bill, based on our experience and what we know of your firm, if we were in your position, here are the questions I would be asking to best discern what is needed in terms of training:

  1. What is our “North Star” that serves to inform where we should focus our training? (To what end or for what purpose would we provide training and development for our bankers?)
    This is the first and most important question to answer (and most often overlooked in our industry). Defining the “North Star” starts with your primary financial objectives and then behind that, the key priorities that will most directly lead to accomplishment of those objectives.
    Based on the conversations we’ve had with you to date, your number one priority is to ensure consistency in the experience you are delivering to your clients and prospects, with a focus on a client-engaging approach that is proactive (versus reactive) and the client’s full balance sheet.
  2. The second question we would solve for then is, “What specific training – or strategy – can we employ that will most significantly and directly move the dial toward the realization of this strategic priority?

From there, below are the questions we would then ask to nail down the specifics of the training:

  1. What are the key competencies our bankers need to ensure the consistent execution of proactive, full balance sheet selling?
  2. How will we define the standard, (i.e., what “good” looks like) for each of these competencies to best ensure the consistent experience you are looking for?
  3. How will we most efficiently and effectively equip our bankers to master these competencies?
    • Content
    • Mode of Delivery
    • Banker Accountabilities
  4. How will we measure the impact of this training (i.e., what are the specific, quantifiable metrics we will use)?
  5. How will we ensure maximum impact of the training (achieving the defined metrics) and that banker mastery of these competencies sticks and is sustainable?
    • Sub-Question: How will we equip our leaders with the messaging, framework and process to most efficiently and effectively guide and support our bankers in the development of this mastery and ensure banker accountability for such development?
  6. What framework do we need to put in place to ensure new hires are most effectively integrated into the process to accelerate the time it takes to master the competencies and achieve full productivity?

Bill, there is one additional question that you have heard us mention in our previous calls that we believe is critical…

  1. How will we position this initiative to ensure maximum engagement and buy-in with the bankers and front-line leaders that leads to consistent execution of the competencies and a sustainable productivity impact?
    Based on our experience, we believe that traditional training is seriously flawed. It most often focuses purely on the participation of the constituents and consequently fails to achieve the intended outcomes in terms of actual execution and productivity. Instead, by focusing on the development and execution of a strategy – of which employee development is a byproduct – you should realize the following:
    • It provides that “North Star” that serves to define and convey what you are striving to accomplish as an organization, the process and “development” needed to get there, AND WHY.
    • The message to the bankers is not that THEY need to get better (presuming some level of incompetence), but this is a strategy that is needed for US to get better, and if we all engage in and deliver consistently, THEY will benefit financially and from a career perspective, as well.
    • It is more “purpose-driven,” which leads to higher levels of participant engagement and, if messaged and managed properly, enlivens the culture and sense of purpose employees have in their daily work.
    • And in the end – based on our experience –delivers better, more sustainable results.


Please note that we do believe that there likely ARE areas outside of your strategic initiatives – things like systems training, new hire assimilation, etc., that may call for a more traditional training approach. However, even with those, they should still be positioned as to WHY this is important for the organization, how it will help them, and how it aligns to the “North Star” or strategy that drives your business priorities.

At Greene Consulting, our mission is to empower the clients we serve to make a meaningful impact on the clients they serve. For more information on how we help our clients maximize the impact of their “training initiatives,” or for more information on the programs we deliver to fulfill on our mission, contact Rick Swygman at (404) 324-4600, ext. 120, or

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