The Dellanna Method:
train your people faster and with better results
Here is the training method I routinely use and which never failed to deliver results.
A core reason employees don’t receive enough training is that it is very time-consuming, and many teams are already overworked.
Moreover, most trainers “push” pre-prepared content onto the team. Because such content is pre-prepared and used to train many different teams, it cannot be very relevant to the specific team being trained today.
As a result, the team nods during the training but then goes back to their workstations and faces the same obstacles and questions it faced before – obstacles and questions that the training didn’t address in enough detail to be useful.
Here is how I deliver most of my trainings to corporate clients.
- The training doesn’t contain any slides (even though, sometimes, I send optional pre-reading materials).
- Instead, the training begins with me picking a topic (say, delegation), and asking the audience what problems they face in this respect.
- Then, I address each problem in great detail. I ask them what they would do and give them feedback (“good idea, because…” or “bad idea, because…”). I explain what I would do in that situation, how I would do it, why, and what would happen if I did differently. I ask if what I said makes sense, if they see themselves doing it, or if they see any obstacle to that. This is because you cannot reliably solve people management problems by discussing them abstractly; you must discuss them concretely and in high detail.
- Many problems are also discussed in the form of hypotheticals. I ask questions such as, “What would you do if you have an employee who refuses to take on a task,” then give them feedback on their answer, explaining why I think it would be a good idea or pre-empting possible issues.
- We take anything between one and fifteen minutes to address each point. The objective is to discuss the obstacles in great detail to ensure that the attendees have all their doubts and reservations addressed. If I didn’t do this, the audience would nod as I spoke but would go back to their workstations unchanged.
- A typical training session lasts 90 minutes, in which we cover 5-10 people management situations. The attendees leave changed, with better clarity on what they should do, how, and why. And they will actually do it.
- After the session, I send the attendees an email with the most important points covered in the session. Again, this is not pre-prepared material, because it’s crucial that it addresses the exact problems this specific audience faced, using the words they use and using examples they live in their day-to-day.
I have run dozens of such workshops with large multinationals from the tech, financial, and pharmaceutical sectors, and they have always proved very effective, thanks to their concreteness.
WHY IT WORKS
In most trainings, the trainer talks about some procedure or framework, the attendees nod, but then go back to their workstations without anything having changed. That’s because the training didn’t address the real problems of the audience, their bottlenecks to action.
Most trainers circle around the hard questions that are what the audience needs to get answered: what do you do when there’s not enough time to do everything? What do you do when there’s a subordinate who is fully disengaged? How do you have hard conversations? How do you do it when turnover is already a problem?
Instead, my approach is all about surfacing and addressing these hard questions. It’s about acknowledging that the real world is messy and time is a major constraint. It’s about empowering managers by giving them the tools they need rather than the tools we think they need.
Moreover, I believe that it’s necessary to teach not only what the right things to do are but also how to do them right. Hence the focus on roleplay, on working on concrete examples, and on examining difficult and messy situations.
It’s an approach that produces results in the real world.
CASE STUDY #1
I recently delivered a couple of training sessions to the Finance Leadership Team of a major pharmaceutical company.
Not only the engagement during the session has been excellent (finally, a trainer that addressed their problems), but the growth in people management capabilities has been evident as well.
CASE STUDY #2
For nine years and counting, I’ve been teaching a risk management for manufacturing operations module at an Italian university.
I deliver 90% of it using hypotheticals. We go for hours with me asking questions (“what would you do on your first day…?” “what would you do to achieve X?”) and giving motivated feedback (“good idea, because…” or “bad idea, because…”). We also do plenty of roleplay, because one thing is to know at a high level what should be said, and another one is to be able to say it in a way that’s clear and convincing.
It works wonderfully. It is more active learning, covers more concrete situations, teaches know-how rather than know-what, and gets remembered better than just going through slide decks.
A typical engagement would look as follows.
- A first call with you, where I get information about your team and its day-to-day. Ideally, also a couple of calls with members of your team, to understand their problems.
- Two 90-minute workshops with your team, where we do hypotheticals. That’s where your people learn how to manage common situations proper of people management.
- A 30-minute one-on-one with you and each of your team members.
Such an engagement for a team of 8 people would cost around 3000€, assuming remote delivery.
I would personally run all the activities above, no bait-and-switch where less experienced consultants are involved.
All the activities above would be tailored to the situations your team face in their day-to-day, with no pre-packaged content that is irrelevant to your team’s reality.
Feel free to send me an email, and we can schedule a short call to see if I can help you.
I read all replies personally and usually reply within 24h. I am fluent in Italian, French, and Spanish, in addition to English.