Why Is It So Hard To Practice What I Preach?

I've read hundreds of articles, studies and guides on the best ways to provide legal training to employees. 

I started this exercise after noticing my increasing frustration with the format, delivery and retention of the legal training I was providing our employees. 

In short, I thought the PowerPoint templates we recycled were woefully inadequate and frankly, quite boring. 

After sitting through lectures, CLEs and countless other presentations making the same mistakes I was making, I found it incredible that I'd gotten to this point. 

Thankfully once I started doing research, it seemed the end of boring, ineffective legal training was near. Armed with a multitude of new best practices and cool training techniques, I was going to blow away employees with new and improved legal training!

So why did I fall right back into the same old trap when I sat down to review our annual compliance training modules?

I was sitting in my cubicle (don't judge, it's a nice cubicle) last week cranking through some emails, when up popped a request from the corporate training team to review our compliance training materials. 

GREAT, I thought. 

After doing months of research, I couldn't wait to get my hands on the training materials. 

Then the email attachments came over. 

WOW, this was a lot bigger than I remembered. 

The training deck was huge. 

And I was really busy. 

After blowing through time I had set aside to work on the project on 3 separate days, I finally sat down to start.  

Flipping through PowerPoint slides, I went into "corporate counsel mode".

"Training professional mode" took a backseat. 

I found myself taking the "easy way out" as I flew past doing a "Training Needs Analysis ("TNA," discussed in "The Science of Legal Training - 3 Steps to Conduct a Training Needs Analysis") right into modifying the existing PowerPoint based training modules. 


After realizing what I had done, I sat at my desk with a feeling of huge disappointment. 

How could I possibly hope to get people excited about new legal training techniques if I couldn't even implement my own advice?

After a few deep breaths, I began to better understand the difficult task of actually implementing new practices. 

It's hard to stop a train once it's rolling down the tracks. 

And it's hard to stop a busy corporate counsel from recycling old forms.

Even after I started writing the TNA, the little voice in my head just kept telling me how much time I was wasting. 

There are emails to answer!

There are issues to research!

There are clients to take care of!

Wouldn't it just be easier to ask outside counsel for a new PowerPoint?

Or just recycle that one from last year?

Bottom line: it's hard to do work that doesn't have immediate impact.

But sometimes you just have to ignore that little voice, and trust that doing the work ahead of time to prepare for legal training is entirely worth your effort in the long run.

You'll end up with better preparation, better legal training and better employees.

Fast forward: when I got to the end of the TNA, the extra time I had taken to think clearly about training objectives completely paid off!

I was able to better identify areas that needed more focus and areas that could be completely eliminated. 

It was liberating!

Listen, it's really hard to practice what you preach. It's even harder to practice what someone else is preaching...

Just know it's all worth it when your employees are learning new skills because of your legal training.