I Am Not The Solution To Your Performance Gaps

In 1993, Nike aired the (in)famous Charles Barkley “I Am Not A Role Model” commercial.

It sparked a debate. Could high-paid professional athletes choose to be role models? Or were they role models because of their high profile positions, whether they liked it or not?

I sometimes wonder what would happen if Nike chose to sponsor other areas of life and shined a spotlight on intractable problems that are often dismissed as too mundane and not cool enough to debate so publicly.  If Nike ever chose to make a commercial featuring a “bad boy” training professional, I imagine it might be scripted to look something like this:

I Am Not A Role Model (no background)

I am not the solution to performance gaps.

I am not paid to be the solution to performance gaps.

I am paid to create amazing learning experiences that show employees what is possible.

Managers should be the solution to performance gaps.

Just because I score 5 out of 5 on an evaluation doesn’t mean I will solve your employees’ problems.

In the absence of Nike turning this into a commercial and then a national debate, feel free to start your own debate in the comments section.  Do you think training professionals are the solution to performance gaps?

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6 thoughts on “I Am Not The Solution To Your Performance Gaps

  1. Is the training professional on staff of the company or an outside vendor? If it is a vendor, then I agree that often there is not enough time to uncover and implement solutions.. We can help uncover the gaps and help them to find solutions, but how much time is the consultant given?
    If it is an inside training professional, then they ought to work with the managers to find solutions for the gaps. I think the point is that bad boy trainers only want to amaze and not follow through!

    • I love that you picked up on the idea of the “bad boy” trainer! The trainer who focuses solely on his craft without considering real-world implications of what happens once people leave the training room.

      The place where I struggle is the workplace that believes learning and professional development should be “self-directed”, placing the onus of continuous development squarely on the shoulders of each employee. I’ve found a few managers who take the idea of learning and development seriously and work with their employees before and after training events and continuously coach. But mostly I’ve found that managers are busy – doing their own work and trying to get others to deliver results, and there is a layer of unconscious incompetence where many managers don’t even think about their role in supporting continuous employee development. And on the other side there are really good instructional designers and facilitators who either don’t think about or don’t have access to managers when it comes to goal setting beforehand and follow up afterwards.

  2. I JUST had this fight. A supervisor wanted to ave an employee “sit in” on the new hire class I am teaching to “catch ” what she missed. Each thing he listed was a coaching area! Have you talked to her? Well some… Does she know HOW to do it.. Well yeah….

    • The post is tongue-in-cheek, but it’s definitely a debate that needs to happen more often. Funny that you should mention coaching issues vs. new hire orientation… my Wednesday post is going to touch on that! Thanks for reading (and commenting) Tony!

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