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Employee Development Based On Thinking Patterns

A common question we are asked when working with executive leaders on team building and professional development is: “Aren’t training and development the same?”

The answer is no. The concepts of training and development serve two distinct purposes in the overall process of supporting your talent to increase productivity.

Simply stated, training is about knowledge and development is about change. Once you understand this distinction and understand how the brain is wired to process the change, you can implement a custom training and development program for each individual in your organization.

What is Employee Training?

Training will help the employee understand the issue, understand how to work better with others in their organization, understand how to use communication skills to delegate, and understand that delegation does not compromise their personal integrity by asking someone else to complete the task or perform the work.

Essentially, training is about achieving understanding. Then, once the employee assimilates the information and starts using their training, the manager will see the changed behavior. However, the process is incomplete without the developmental step.

What is Employee Development?

The developmental stage has more to do with changing the thinking in the brain rather than focusing on content that you would find at the training stage. The goal is to change the neural networks in the individual’s brain through developmental exercises.

For example, when working to develop an employee in the training stage you present information to educate the individual about their blind spots. In the developmental stage you need to dive into the “why?”

The beauty of working with an assessment based on value science, like the ZERORISK, is that you do not need to dive into the brain to find answers because the assessment does that for you. The results will provide the answers that help guide the process of changing a person’s thinking.

By looking at the assessment results, you can develop custom questions to help understand what is causing the unwanted behavior. There could be a disconnect between how a person thinks about themselves, (self-confidence) and how well they know their job. If they have low self-confidence but have strong knowledge about how to perform their tasks, they will struggle to delegate.

The key is understanding how to change the thinking patterns of the individual to address the low self-confidence. This could also require examining how the individual sees others in relation to themselves -- especially a manager -- to address sources of unwanted behavior.

How the Brain’s Wiring Affects Managers and Direct Reports

The brain is wired to think in two different categories: self-thinking and world-thinking. Both categories have intrinsic, extrinsic, and systemic thinking that identify the values a person places on themselves and other people.

For example, let’s say you require managers to have an open-door policy with their direct reports. The goal, of course, is to allow employees to freely approach them with questions, concerns, etc. to increase productivity. As a company, you could provide custom training on how to use the open-door policy.

However, if managers are so focused on doing their work that they give off the impression they cannot be interrupted for any reason, then employees will not use the open-door policy. It has nothing to do with the training concepts or education about the policy; it’s about the thinking that drives whether a person will use the policy.

In this case, both the employee and the manager need custom development to target the cause of their behavior. The result should be the manager changing their thinking to be more attentive to the open-door policy and for the employees to be more confident using the policy.

Additionally, this is why a one-size-fits-all approach to training and development does not yield tangible results. Each person’s brain is wired differently, requiring individual customization for both managers and direct reports to identify thinking patterns and change behavior to increase productivity.


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