American Express was concerned about their three-day classroom-based training program, which dealt with Total Quality Management. Although the course content was of high quality, there were a number of over-riding issues with the program. Different departments within American Express paid to have their employees take the course, which was also sold externally. However, the numbers attending the course were extremely low because participants found the material uninteresting, and the lengthy duration of the course made it difficult for managers to attend. As well as that, the course content was overwhelming for some employees, who needed only a basic grounding in Total Quality Management.
American Express contracted us to examine the problems with the course, and to improve the course delivery. After studying the learner environment and needs, we recommended several changes to the program.
To facilitate the managers who found it difficult to attend, we developed a self-study guide which was to be used as a prerequisite to the course. In addition, the course was shortened to two-days. The self-study guide was suitable for use by all employees, and was sufficient material for some. Others, such as managers, who needed more in-depth material, would complete the self-study guide initially, and then take the two-day course.
However, the course still needed something extra to help engage the learners. We developed a scenario based on a stage coach company in the old west. Through the scenario, the learners examined the quality processes at work. They were able to apply the lessons that they learned here to their own business practices.
The result was Amex Canada's "Quest for Quality" two-day classroom-based program, designed to teach participants the principles of Total Quality Management and to provide managers and assistant managers within the core lines of business with the knowledge and skills to apply principles of Quality in their projects and in their daily business activities.
Upon completion, learners are able to identify a quality gap in their business. Then, using a strategic plan with appropriate quality tools and techniques, they have the ability to manage the process to close the gap so that the customer's agreed requirements are met or exceeded. Successful participants are certified by the National Quality Institute as "Quality Professionals".
The course was a huge success with participants and was awarded an OTTER (Ontario Top Training Excellence Recognition) award for Best Internal Training Program.