The digital revolution is killing training as we know it. But independent training firms alive to change can succeed as never before. By Rob Tyson.
THE WORLD’S FIRST TRILLIONAIRE could come from the education industry, predicts Google’s top-rated futurist speaker.
Thomas Frey told the World Economic Forum that by 2030 the biggest internet company will not be Google or Facebook.
It will be an education business that doesn’t even exist today.
This will be possible as technology drives a revolution towards a 'Teacherless Education' model.
And this shift has profound implications for teachers and trainers alike.
By 2030, Frey envisages a world in which Artificial Intelligence (AI) will guide individuals through pre-created content in a personalised way.
If assessment shows a student is weak in a particular area, the system will adjust to give them extra help.
Does 'Training' Survive A Post-Information World?
You can disagree with the timing of Frey's prediction - and plenty do.
But the direction of travel is unmistakable:
'Over the past few decades we have transitioned from a world where information was scarce and only the experts had access to it, to a time where information is plentiful but only the experts know what to pay attention to,' Frey says.
What has value in this 'post-information' environment?
It is no longer the sharing of information.
So if you're a trainer used to making a living playing the 'sage on the stage?'
It is almost certain that you will need to change your role to survive and thrive in the future.
Future Threatened vs. Future Proof
We can already see a stark contrast beginning to emerge.
On the one hand will be trainers who can’t or won't adapt to the changing environment.
You can consider them ‘Future Threatened.’
On the other hand will be those trainers who do adapt to the new reality.
Whether they call themselves 'trainers' or not, they won't provide value just by conveying specialist information, as they did in the past.
Instead, they will make themselves valuable by helping clients to:
And the good news is that trainers who accept the challenge to provide these things to a high standard can not only survive, but thrive.
Freed from live content delivery, technology will allow them to make more impact.
Those trainers will make themselves ‘Future Proof.’
What does this transition look like in practice?
Meet Mike: A Future Proof Trainer
I've changed his name, but his story is real.
Mike runs his own training business and became Future Proof in the last two years.
With stunning results.
‘My current schedule of training is about five hours per month over five big programs that are running at the moment.
‘Money-wise, that's half a million pounds (approx. USD $650,000) for five hours a month.
'I'm not normally the person that stands up and talks about how much money I'm making and that sort of thing.
'In fact, I'm never that sort of person but the organiser decided to call this session the one million pound product so it was kind of a giveaway.
'But it blows my mind when I think about it.
‘All this happened from about three or four weeks of dedicated hard work and my initial investment in creating the content of 4000 Euros (USD $5,000).
'There's been a little bit more investment in the second version than the first version.
'Probably somewhere between three and four thousand Euros again.
'Made a million (USD $1.3m) so far.
‘I now live in super-slow Cornwall. I'm right next to the beach. I deliver all of my webinars and my online stuff right next to the ocean.
'I can run multiple programs, anything I want, from my little office which is in my little house.
‘I've done four days of training this year in the classroom. Four days.
'Just to remind myself that I can still do it and keep that touch with humans and real people, not just online.’
I’m listening to Mike in a light, airy and well-appointed seminar room at an upmarket hotel in the English countryside.
Attending a ‘mastermind’ all about sharing intelligence with other successful creators of online-delivered programs and products.
Mike is 47 years old, of about average height, lean, wiry and slightly tanned. Head completely shaved.
He’s a corporate trainer who had been delivering traditional, classroom-style training and consulting around professional growth and leadership for 20 years.
Speaks with an English West Country accent, which tickles me because I grew up in that area myself.
Wearing casual, slightly ‘outdoorsy’ clothing, he looks healthy and relaxed… like he could have just stepped off a light hiking trip.
Just a couple of years ago, you’d have observed a much more stressed out Mike.
A 'road warrior.'
Author and co-author of several books on his subject.
An associate professor at one university.
Taught on five executive MBA programs.
Already trained over 16,000 people face to face.
And a victim of his own success.
‘Because I was being so successful as a trainer and coach, because I was good as a conference speaker and in the classroom, everybody wanted me.
'So I was constantly on a plane to Sweden, Spain, Portugal, Dubai, you name it.
'Travelling 75% of the year.’
But in addition to earning far more, he's now working and travelling a lot less than he used to under the old model.
And he's about to tell us exactly what he did to make it all happen.