What is company training (“kigyoukensyu” in Japanese)? I would like you to think carefully about this with me. What kind of training is performed at your company? While a variety of training types exist, they can generally be classified under two headings: “specific company hierarchical-level training,” or “specific purpose training.” While numerous companies perform training with the aim of developing the skills and abilities of their employees, the fact is, such training programs are faced with difficulties:
- insufficient motivation among participants
- internal company employees who teach mainly in classroom-type lecture styles
- the thought that such training lacks application as a general reference for use in actual daily work
- conventional training for each hierarchical level of the company
If you will pardon the expression, the use of case studies of other companies that may even evoke “shouting matches” among participants is the most suitable method not only for company training, but also for business education as a whole. A case from another firm can inspire participants to each come to their own conclusion, which could spur serious, heated debate. When the company side hears from a participant that “the training was not easy, but it was sure fun—others should have come, too,” then the people in charge of sending the participants will share some of their “fire.” These managers will then be better able to see the value of company training as “an educational investment.”
Certainly, there are some lingering thoughts in Japan that a business school is a place where researchers are trained and where logical research is the main form of study, all entailing the idea that the business school experience has no relationship with actual working life. These days, however, a growing number of companies have discovered the value of utilizing the business school as a place for company training, and for fostering the development of leaders.