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Have you seen one of my all time favourite films then if you have you will be familiar with the account of the  spaceship Apollo 13 which became famous for not going to the moon and is synonymous with the phrase ‘Houston we have a problem!’

The article is not about “Houston we have a problem” but rather the many other lessons that my favourite film includes to aid us in our desire to become more effective trainers.

The film Apollo 13 tells the story of the ill-fated craft of the title in its epic struggle to get back safety home to the earth after a catastrophic malfunction. The phase “Houston we have a problem” is often jokily used as a quote when teams are faced with a crisis situation.

There were however other moments in the film with learning points that should inspire trainers to better.

Speaking of the dilemma facing NASA in seeking to get the spacecraft back safely Flight Director Gene Kranz is purported to have uttered the words “Failure is not an option” as part of his determination not to lose the astronauts.

Similarly, as trainers we should be determined that we will provide every opportunity for our participants to learn by using all our knowledge and experience to create a safe atmosphere for our Learners. Failure to create the right learning atmosphere is not an option for us.

‘Got to make this square cartridge fit into a hole made for a round one’

Having had to scramble aboard the Lunar Module, the crew discovered that they had an issue with carbon dioxide. The landing module was designed to support two people for two days, and was suddenly called upon to keep three people alive for four days.

In addition, the square lithium hydroxide canisters were not compatible with the round openings in the landing module system. The movie includes a scene where a NASA engineers dumps a load of materials onto a table with the message “ we have got to make this square cartridge fit into the hole made for this round one.”

An example of adaptability and flexibility that we need as trainers. We may have developed a training plan to teach a particular concept only to find that either the participants already have this knowledge or perhaps haven’t done the preparatory work required. In this case just like the team at NASA we are required to be adept and think on our feet to give them what they need. Likewise in this pandemic world we are adapting from physical face to face trainers to future fit trainers capable of using all the digital technologies to make learning avaliable teveryone.

‘I didn’t get the measles ‘

The original crew of Apollo had worked together for years preparing for the mission however almost at the last minute a substitution was made Jack Swigert for Ken Mattingly who supposedly had been exposed to the rubella. An example for us of dealing with and accepting change . Change Management is often a feature of management and leadership training and unless you display the same adaptability we talk about how can you expect to be taken seriously. As trainers we need to be a model of dealing with change as the needs of our learners evolve.

Are you a trainer and don’t want your training to have a problem? Want your training to really lift off? -then why contact me for more details and simply  book a free 20 minute chat with me