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26 June 2015 John Moore

This week I had the privilege of chatting to one of my boyhood heroes! Derek Redmond a member of the 4 x 400 world championship relay squad along with Roger Black, John Regis and Kriss Akabusi. We concluded that time is fast running out for the traditional trainer.

Trainers Are a Dying Breed

We talked about his amazing experience as a member of the GB team that shocked the Americans by changing the way to run a 4 x 400 metre final – I won’t share this with you here as he uses this story in his role as a motivational speaker. What I will share is that we agreed that employers need to re-think how they develop talent and performance within their organisations.


The role of the traditional trainer is in rapid decline and employers need to wake up to this if they are to survive and thrive in the future. His key note talk certainly resonated with me and how Exponential Training has and is evolving our approach to helping managers and organisations to resolve problems and improve their performance.

The focus of training for many employers is still knowledge and skills, what I call content driven training. The problem is content is available 24/7/365 to anyone who needs it – this means knowledge or content is available on demand and does not need to be provided in a formalised and structured format.

The ‘spoon-feeding’ model of learning has never really been the most effective way of learning despite being the preferred model for most organisations and training and education providers. The knowledge-based trainer is living on borrowed time!

The Workplace as a Learning Resource

I find it unbelievable that managers and organisations do not realise that they have a wealth of learning and development resources available for free right under their nose – the workplace.

Research carried out by Lombardo & Eichinger over a decade ago suggests that lessons learned by successful and effective managers are roughly 70% from tough jobs and experience (i.e. doing), 20% from people (i.e. social learning), and 10% from courses and reading (e.g. formal learning) – what does 70:20:10 mean?

It means every organisation is sat on a massive learning and development resource that they already own and have paid for through running their business. The challenge is how to capture it, access it, share it and exploit it. Projects like LEXSHA where entrepreneurs capture and share their experience with each other seek to do exactly this and is a model that businesses could do worse than replicate within their own organisation.

The Future for Trainers?

Trainers will need to evolve or risk being left behind. It is a model that Exponential Training started to embrace over five years ago. With the advent of new social learning techniques, I predict that learning and performance improvements will be driven by more peer to peer support, collaborative learning and an increase in the use of creative social learning platforms. Learning and development professionals need to evolve or risk being left behind just like the US 4 x 400 relay team!

John Moore has over 20 years experience of training and developing Managers, Coaches, Consultants and businesses. As Managing Director of Exponential Training, John researches, speaks, blogs and writes about how to improve performance. He also designs and delivers engaging, fun and interactive learning programmes. John is a Fellow Chartered Manager and has worked with managers and organisations in over 20 different countries.


  1. Rob Knowles 5 years ago

    This is very relevant with the work I am doing with a number of client companies. One of the challenges is overcoming the management mindset that realising and releasing this potential is threatening their authority.

    • Author
      John Moore 5 years ago

      Good to hear from you – it has been some time! We are doing some development on the manager’s mindset and will be sharing this later in the year so keep a watching brief.

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