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Eight Mindsets guide to deciding your Ethics, HR & Compliance training strategy: David or Goliath?

Read this before developing any training

Who’s this guide for?

Anyone with an audience! But particularly if you are in Compliance, Risk, HR or a related service function. In these roles you will need to present, train and inform people about what to comply with, how to comply and why. Unless you are hiding under your desk that is – in which case – time to come up for air and face your audience.

This guide looks at the different types of training and engagement communications you need to consider depending on what you need to achieve.

But firstly, let’s talk about mindset.

The Eight Mindsets of Effective Compliance & Ethics Training (the Eight Mindsets)

“…before you read any further, switch off your pre-conceived ideas about training needing a big production budget, course designers, animators and video editors..”

Here’s a short myth buster to start with – effective training is NOT produced through good design, good script writing and polished courseware (the production process). Effective training is the result of the work done upfront in the pre-production process, where we plan the training. Once we have got this part right we can work on the design and go all the way to distribution. But the bulk of the work that makes any training or communication effective needs to be done before you even start thinking about starting work on building a course.

With this knowledge and also our 50 years combined experience and results working with different organisations around the world helping to change compliance and legal behaviours, Jason and I developed the Eight Mindsets. These range from the mindset of the Entrepreneur to the Mindset of a Buyer.

You can check out the infographic that outlines each of the mindsets here. But, as we know, when learning something new, there is nothing quite so powerful as putting it to practice. In this guide we go through two of the mindsets required when putting together your training strategy: The Mindset of a Storyteller and the Mindset of an Entepreneur

Although the mindsets are uniquely put together, many of the concepts are not new. The are used by the advertising industry, movie producers and every streaming service out there. You may think that thinking like an entrepreneur, advertiser and program executive is for someone working at Warner Bros or Pixar. But we’re here to tell you differently – because we, and the organisations we work with, are the evidence that using the Eight Mindsets actually work.

So please, before you read any further, switch off your pre-conceived ideas about training needing a big production budget, course designers, animators and video editors. We are here to tell you that these are ‘nice’ but definitely not as important as getting the basics right.

Are you a David or a Goliath? (when it comes to training/learning)

“No one dared to take on the fearsome hulk-like man, until David raises his hand – or rather his sling.”

I love an analogy and I also love this particular story so how lucky am I that they go together beautifully to illustrate my point!

Backstory: So, there’s this guy called Goliath, a giant and the champion warrior of the Philistines. Then there’s this far smaller guy called David who was an Israelite but not much of a warrior. And there’s a war going between the Israelites and the Philistines.

Goliath, wanting to win the war, challenged the Israelites to send out their best man (not sure that there were equal opportunities in those days). No one dared to take on the fearsome hulk-like man, until David raises his hand – or rather his sling.

The story goes that David, far smaller than Goliath, unarmed, saved for a sling, slayed Goliath with nothing more than a well-placed small stone thrown to the Goliath’s head. Result: the Israelites won the war.

It’s a story of the underdog overcoming the odds. It’s a story that tells us that small is sometimes more effective than large, it’s a story of disruption and a story about demonstrates the benefits of precision and going against the odds.

Let’s get personal

“I now consider that short has a place – but is part of a strategy and not in place of a strategy.”

My story goes that for many years I was David. Well not really David – I remain Nicole – but my stone and sling was a small bite-sized training that you could digest in one short hit with such precise messaging that I can overcome the larger (in the day) death by PowerPoint Goliath training. Indeed, I built a successful training company around this, Create Training, which I still love and continue to use to produce sling shot (and also other) training . What we now know as micro-learning was what Create Training used to produce animated compliance training for hundreds of thousands of learners around the world. It was how we changed training for 60,000 employees in a large mining company from 3 hours of PowerPoint to a more Netflix type approach. It was also how we brought Richard Bistrong’s story to life in Richard Bistrong: Why we say yes! which was featured in Forbes.

But times have moved on and so has my attitude when it comes to training. You say what!!! Am I moving to the dark side? No – but I do admit that this fable has come to an end for me as currently drafted. I now consider that short has a place – but is part of a strategy and not in place of a strategy.

The real-world story

But before I continue, let’s get some real-world stats in. I did a poll on LinkedIn recently and asked:

“When it comes to giving or receiving training do you prefer long or short for effectiveness? Note the word effectiveness.”

· 5% said they preferred long,

· 41% preferred short; and

· 54% said, whatever it takes.

The so what here, for me, is simple. People have moved on from just wanting training to be as quick as possible. Nearly 60% of voters were happy to either have longer training or whatever is required to get the job done. That tells me two things:

1. training to the majority is no longer tainted with the brush that we just need to get it out of the way as quickly as possible.

2. people are accepting that training may need to come in different shapes and sizes.

The benefit of being open-minded

‘…short and powerful is necessary but not at the expense of, or instead of, the learning journey.”

Ok – so I am still a bit of a David, but I think that I am also a Goliath!

Although I still have a great passion for short, micro-learning animated training, I am far more interested in producing training that changes behaviours and disrupt attitudes and beliefs. This may be short bursts of micro-learning but it may, equally, require a more Goliath like learning environment where learners:

1. turn up to training with a beginner’s mind (willing to learn),

2. participate fully; and

3. are willing to go on a journey from current beliefs and understanding to a new way of thinking/acting.

For some this journey is from overwhelm and fear to acceptance and understanding. For others it may be more powerful either side of the journey. Just like any journey, the time and expense required will depend on where you are going. And I believe that, just like my LinkedIn audience, ‘whatever it takes’ to get the ‘job done’ is a far more valuable attitude to adopt than a prescriptive belief about how training ’should’ be done.

What’s the learning journey?? And what’s this got to do with David and Goliath?

“… I make no apology about being large.”

The learning journey is different depending on what you need to achieve. For some, the journey is short – the behaviours needed can be pretty quickly and easily implemented, understood and welcomed.

But where the journey is more arduous and the behaviour changes are less welcomed or understood, we will, of course, need a longer journey. Some examples of less understood (or welcomed) training I have produced include:

1. a new customer complaints process meaning more, not less work for staff

2. understanding how to manage vulnerable clients and new processes around them

3. making risk part of everyone's everyday role

4. educating every branch in a bank about what compliance actually means for them

5. what the findings of the Royal Commission mean for your role

So, I make no apology about being large. As a result of these big hitting topics, some of my events over the past couple of years have lasted for two to three days. Of course, they are broken down into bite sized David content but the effort and change by the learner is designed to have a Goliath outcome.

The point of this guide is not to tell you to focus on large training sessions and days of workshops. But it is to strongly suggest that before we decide upon budget and length required for a topic, we consider what we need to achieve first. Once we have our target state, we can then build something that will achieve those outcomes. Then we can start to put our scaffolding in place and bui in David like style, mini modules where needed.

Be an intrepreneur by thinking like an entrepreneur

“Before you know it, you could be reusing an entire workshop lasting 2 or more hours and creating a series of online courses from it.”

Google tells me that “an Intrepreneur is an individual who acts much like an Entrepreneur except they do not own the business, company or organization. They have no funds invested, yet they run the company as if they did”.

My final message, or plea, is this. Before you decide to outsource all of your training to an external provider – think about being intrepreneurial in your thinking and consider what you can deliver in-house first at very little cost with very big impact. Another way of putting it is to do more with less. You will have noticed that the Mindset of an Entrepreneur is one of the Eight Mindsets and one that we go into far deeper into our Eight Mindsets Cohort.

For example, if you want online training, consider using a recording of a webinar training using live examples. All you need to do is to divide it into David chunks, intersect it with questions and then add it to an LMS as a SCORM file. Then you have trackable online training, which is inexpensive, easy to put together and extremely effective, particularly as it involves live relatable participants discussing the issues.

Before you know it, you could be reusing an entire workshop lasting 2 or more hours and creating a series of online courses from it. Just compare that cost with outsourcing 2 hours of content to an external provider!

For tips, courses and more ideas on how to create Goliath impact training in David bite-sized chunks, and for help with your resourcing needs:

reach out to Nicole and Jason directly here or at

That’s all folks


If you are interested in learning more about training strategy or the Eight Mindsets cohort and you want to have a chat, feel free to contact me directly at

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