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Training is the highest leverage thing you can do

Reading Andy Grove’s book High Output Management (great summary here), I came across some excellent thoughts on training, and especially his point that training is one of the highest leverage activities a manager can perform. 

Leverage, of course, is the idea that the value of your actions can be multiplied thousands of times over. For example, if you write a book, you only apply effort once, but you can leverage the results of that effort many times over as people buy your book, learn how you think, and spend more money on what you have to offer. 

Going back to training, there is a great story from the book to ram home this point.

Let’s say you have an idea for a course curriculum to improve performance in your company.

You estimate it will take 8 hours to prepare a lesson…


To achieve a 1% improvement in performance, you’re going to need to make a course with 4 of these lessons…

Training 2

Now let’s consider your people. Each employee works on average 2,000 hours a year… 

Training 3

For a team of ten, it looks like this…. 

Training 4

With a little back of the napkin maths…

Training 5

Play with those numbers (i.e. increase the amount of people, or the % efficiency boost) and you really start to get a sense for the power of leverage. Training your people is a no-brainer when you look at it this way. 

What productivity gains have you seen from training, either for your people, or even in your own training?