• Penelope Zakou

"Critical. Common. Catastrophic."

Training in its simplest form.

Dear Trainer,

Employees (or anyone you are training for that matter) don't always need to know EVERYTHING about the particular topic at hand. Honestly, in some cases, they don't even need to know half the shit you might think they need to know.


Because in many cases, for them, this is:

· Time consuming

· Overwhelming

And for us?

· Spendthrift (waste of manpower and budget)

· Inefficacious

As a newbie trainer, coming to the above realization created such a lovely sense of peace for me, because I finally understood that I didn't have to jam-pack years of information into a 45-minute session.

So, what did I have to include in my 45-minute sessions to ensure its badass and effective AF?

Repeat after me:

Critical, Common, Catastrophic.

Critical: What are the most important things for the employee to do?

What are the essentials?

Common: What will they have to do most often? What is an everyday task?

Catastrophic: What will shut down the business, lose clients, cause injury or invite a lawsuit?

Training, in its simplest form, is wrapped up in these three C's. Critical. Common, Catastrophic.

This is the most valuable lesson I learnt from reading The Learning & Development Book and it was the beginning of my transformation from educator to trainer.

See, when I first started out as a coach, I was exceptionally lucky. Due to my background in teaching, I could easily create engaging presentations and workshops. I was really satisfied with my work, until... I read the 3 Cs: Critical, Common, Catastrophic. My mindset had to shift from educator to trainer, in order for me to be effective and of true service to those I was training.

I'm so grateful to the authors of The Learning & Development Book for this career changing mindset shift and just couldn't keep it to myself.

I look forward to your thoughts.

Yours faithfully,

Penelope xx


Tricia Emerson and Mary Stewart, The Learning and Development Book: change the way you think about L&D, (American Society for Training & Development, 2011), 9.

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