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Creating a false economy

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Paul Eldridge 8 minute read

One of my real bug-bears is companies that try and push you to condense the time-frame for delivering a course. In my humble opinion, a Certificate IV in Finance/Mortgage Broking should take around three to four weeks to complete.

A Diploma in Finance/Mortgage Broking Management should take around six months. A Diploma in Financial Planning should take six to 12 months. Trying to condense time-frames down too much results in the student not acquiring the necessary skills and knowledge and importantly the confidence to apply the skills and knowledge in their business.

Let’s look at Insurance as a classic example of this. For many years, this industry has tried to add Insurance writing as a complimentary service to writing home loans. Most Franchise groups and Aggregators could see the sense in dove-tailing Insurance into the Home Loan process. The problem has been in actually implementing this.

The reality is that when anyone acquires a new skill there are (in my opinion) 7 Steps to Acquiring a New Skill that people experience to various degrees depending on the complexity of the skill to be acquired.

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The 7 Steps to Acquiring a New Skill are:

1.    Awareness             (of lack of skill or need to acquire skill)
2.    Fear, trepidation or excitement    (about learning the new skill)
3.    Attempt to Learn         (experience initial training)
4.    Experience Frustration         (whilst attempting for first time)
5.    Failure Point             (quit trying or move forward with determination)
6.    Gain Initial Confidence         (with practice)
7.    Skill Used             (regularly or as needed)

Each of these 7 steps is important with two and five being absolutely critical. Most organisations get Step one ok, they create awareness that the skill (being able to write insurance) is needed however what they fail to recognise is that most of the population falls into the category of ‘fear of the unknown’ – aka comfort zone (Step two).  If a broker who is very comfortable and highly skilled at writing home loans is presented with the challenge of writing Insurance they will quite often experience a sense of trepidation or even real fear.

Fear of failure, fear of looking like a complete git in front of their client, fear of losing a home loan opportunity, fear of being seen as an Insurance Salesman (very real fear for those aged 40 and over now who remember the bad old days of the dodgy Insurance Salesperson).

If you don’t address the fear aspect then you will find that brokers will simply refuse to get involved in the first place. They may not admit to you (or themselves) the real reason instead they will cite general banalities like ‘horses for courses’, you see a brick wall go up and they say they ‘just write home loans’.

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For training to work each of the 7 steps must be addressed. 

Step five is where training really comes to the fore.  If you acknowledge that most people don’t get things right on their first go and will therefore experience some sense of failure, you must have a plan in place to address this or people will stop trying to learn the new skill. This is the single most common reason for training failing to produce results. When you push people through training and don’t give them the support they need when they apply the skill for the first time, you will generally see a failure to have the skill embedded and used on the job. People don’t like failing, they don’t like not being able to do something. At the point where something is the most uncomfortable is the point at which most people quit and say this is too hard, or, see, I told you this wouldn’t work. A good training program helps people push through the Failure Point by a process of Debrief and Adjust – Debrief on what they did well and not so well and then give them the Adjustment needed to apply the skill correctly. This step can either be done by the trainer or by someone on the job who has the skills and experience to assist the person acquire the new skill.

Trying to push people through training in as short a time frame as possible creates a false economy. They may gain a piece of paper but they never actually acquire the skill needed or they only partially gain the new skill and operate ineffectively.

I remember speaking to the Managing Director of a group who had just purchased a Financial Planning business. He was very frustrated as none of the ‘so called Planners’ (his words) could write any business. The reason? They had all gone through a two-week Diploma in Financial Planning.  On paper they could do the job, in reality, they had no idea.


Paul Eldridge, Director and CEO of Intelltrain
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Paul holds a Master of Business and Technology from the Australian Graduate School of Management at UNSW. He also has a Bachelor of Arts and a Certificate IV in Training & Assessment as well as being an accredited Franklin Covey and DiSC facilitator. Paul is an Associate Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management (AFAIM) and a member of the Australian Institute of Training and Development (AITD). Paul is a founding director and current CEO of Intellitrain where he is responsible for the continuing growth and expansion of the business. Intellitrain is widely respected as a quality provider of training services to the Mortgage Broking Industry. The company has won several awards including Best Industry Service and BRW Fastest 100 companies in Australia (53rd) in 2012. Paul has developed authored Cert IV & Diploma units, training manuals, sales manuals and designed and delivered training programs for such clients as Westpac, LJ Hooker, Ray White, RAMS, AFG and Mortgage Choice to name a few. Paul’s style is engaging and dynamic and he is passionate about helping people to grow and develop themselves and their business. Sometimes controversial, always forthright and passionate, Paul will be sharing via this blog his insights and challenges faced in running an RTO in the Mortgage Broking industry.

Creating a false economy
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