What if we train themWhat’s the fastest way to create a more effective team? Education. Teach people something new and you open up possibilities and ideas that didn’t previously exist. But corporate education and training often get the short end of the stick. Low budget, low standing within the office, little direction or vague objectives keep human resources or even a dedicated internal education team from making the most possible impact.

Now, the Harvard Buiness Review¬†points to a study which should send chills up every manager’s spine: People who need training simply don’t think they need it.

The study was basic. A simple internet-based 10-question quiz was given. At the end of the quiz, participants were asked what they thought their score was. They were asked to judge their own knowledge. What was scary was that people who scored a zero almost always assumed they scored at least a seven out of ten.

It’s a case of not knowing that you don’t know, and that’s where corporate training and education needs to push. Employees who don’t know that they don’t know something are just as confident as the people who actually know. Their very wrong voices have the same volume as those who have spent time studying and understanding the materials. With two voices trying to solve a problem, one based in experience and understanding, the other based on incorrect or non-existing assumptions and concepts, who wins?

And if you don’t know you need training, you will be the last person to ask for it. Thus, self-directed and self-motivated learning leads in the wrong direction. That’s the trap: people who need it won’t ask for it.

The answer is to keep that kind of situation from happening at all, where educated and uneducated voices sound the same, is by pushing training as a mandatory elective. Managers should build lists of key skills that their team needs to do great work, and see who has actually been trained in each skill. After that, it’s matter of filling in the holes.

So don’t wait for staff to ask for training. Make it a critical element in their annual goals.