Updated 2/17/2021. ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED 5/3/2015.

Have you ever felt like throwing in the towel? I did.

While working on a prior project, I was part of a large team of corporate trainers and instructional designers. The education, experience, and skills levels were as varied as the colors in the crayon box. After the project expanded, requiring additional resources, a secondary team of “expert” trainers was hired.

alarming traits

This second team of trainers quickly demonstrated several alarming traits within their ranks. Ungrateful, frustrating, incompetent, unwilling, lazy, untrained, unfocused team members. 

I could go on. 

After struggling for months on the project to create a sense of team spirit and identifying team goals at every boring weekly conference call held with the site project manager, the team displayed no sense of team synergy, competency, or client focus.

The backstabbing, overtalking and snide commentary only escalated. The project manager was seemingly oblivious, alternately instigating and encouraging the negative, ladder-climbing, competitive atmosphere.

Performance Issues

Our customers, the actual class attendees, were arriving in the training center to find the front lobby door locked. There were no resources available to assist them at 7:30 am, despite classes were scheduled to begin promptly at 8 am.

There were reports of instructors who arrived after the attendees.

If the instructor was not available, the attendees were required to wait for the guard to complete his normal rounds, then unlock the main lobby door allowing participants to enter the training center building. Once inside the building, the attendees then navigated the training center issues locating the correct classroom (no receptionist, missing instructor).  Once in the classroom, many users encountered little instruction regarding computer login requirements. 

Historically, classes routinely started 15 to 45 minutes later than the scheduled start time.   

It was reported that many participants were spending quality time on their smart devices, while awaiting the start of the training sessions.


Preparation Checklist activities were routinely ignored.  

This new group of  trainers routinely left the classroom at the end of the day unkempt and ill prepared for the next day’s training sessions.  

Classroom managers routinely checked every classroom to ensure that each room was set up for the upcoming sessions. This included printing up agendas and rosters for every trainer scheduled to deliver training. Most participants historically arrived at least 60 minutes before the class started

Class Preparation

The L&D policy required trainers to arrive at least one hour prior to class start time to ensure adequate preparation time.   The goal was not only to assist fellow trainers on the team, but the primary focus was to enhance the learning experience for our clients. 

Additionally, the policy targeted consistent quality of experience from the moment attendees walked into the front door through completing attendee class evaluations.


The project manager flew onsite to visit the center every couple of weeks.  The implementation project had a communication plan requiring weekly conference calls with the trainers.

The client had complained internally to their organization’s leadership.  Client executive management had complained to our consulting team management.

There was a brief comment acknowledging the issues on the conference call, but no call to action. 

  • No inspection and verification that change was occurring.
  • No identification of best practices as visual examples for the less experienced team members. 

Many of the novice team members had no formal training in the learning and development profession, such as time management, instructor preparation, training delivery, questioning techniques or presentation skills.

Apparently, the criteria for hiring was a  youthful appearance and a reduced billable rate.  Many had received only “Just-in-time” training, which lacked the basic concepts and foundation content necessary for delivering high quality training with measurable learning results.

I was done.  I was exhausted from the effort of camouflaging team member’s lackluster performances, accompanied by lackluster preparation and follow-up.

The Band-Aid Approach

As a response to the lackluster training received,  I was routinely called by the client project manager to perform “triage” re-training to individual client professionals.  The purpose was to expand and solidify the training the client should have received.  The client responded with glowing written and verbal feedback to the project manager and to myself.

Finally, after several months, exhausted and frustrated – I turned in my badge.

Have you ever had enough?

A Curated Collection Dedicated to the Workplace

Leadership, civility, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and more. All contain inspiration by some of the world’s actionable leaders.