ISD Evaluation – Why Smiley Sheets Stink


Are You Too Nice to Train?

August 01, 2006 By Sarah Boehle

A little evaluation can be a dangerous thing. Just ask Neil Rackham.

Years ago, the best-selling author of SPIN Selling and Major Account Sales Strategy was asked by a European technology company to examine the way it evaluated trainer performance. “They were using Level I methods at the end of each program, which consisted of giving out a questionnaire to students at the end of training that basically asked, ‘How do you feel about the trainer?’ and ‘Do you think he or she was effective?’

“Two trainers in particular consistently received poor ratings. As one might expect, management began to wonder aloud about those trainers’ futures. “One of the trainers had applied for a management position, and managers were wondering whether they should even consider him for a promotion if his evaluations didn’t seem to be any good, and whether consistently high evaluation scores from students should be a qualification for moving to the next level.”

Rackham decided to dig deeper. The results of his research were startling, to say the least. Turns out, the two most abysmally rated trainers in the company were actually the best in their quartiles-and often the best on staff-when it came to learning gains for their students. “In the end,” Rackham says, “Level I smile sheets had given management the exact wrong impression.”


Check this full posting out – here! Sarah Boehle is a freelance writer for Training. (The Magazine).

Neil Rackham is one of my favorite people in this profession. We met at Motorola’s Training & Education Center (the forerunner of Motorola University) in 1981. He personally trained me and colleague Barbara Warbritton in his behavior observation methods for a Pilot-Test we were running on his Win Win Negotiations training I was heading for Motorola’s Sales, Purchasing and Government Negotiators. Bill Wiggenhorn brought he, and Rummler, and others in for a monthly kind-of “school of the ship” – as we used to say in the Navy. I met my later business partner, Ray Svenson, in those monthly “Learning Sessions with the Masters.” Neil was also my keynote speaker at the ISPI Tampa Conference in 2004.

The rest of this posting has quotes and stories from Richard Clark and Roger Chevalier and Will Thalheimer – all 3 of whom I had first met at ISPI functions/conferences.

Hmmmm. ISPI. Where “Evidence to the Contrary” flows freely whenever someone’s ISD/HPT “BS detector” goes off within the Society.

That is clearly one of the reasons I cherish my participation in ISPI so much.

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One comment on “ISD Evaluation – Why Smiley Sheets Stink

  1. Pingback: 1st Friday Favorite Guru: Neil Rackham | EPPIC – Pursuing Performance

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