During a white paper interview with Joni Mamana, a former trainer for Xerox, I asked her about training and who should be attending sessions. She believes that companies should invest in their employees receiving training several times a year. In fact, she mentioned a generalization that “most of the time that the more mature a trainee is – the less they want to go to training.”
Mamana mentioned the acronym UPPOPPR.
As a trainer, Joni said she would personally use acronyms as a checklist for her training sessions. Students weren’t aware of the acronym but did praise her effective methods in the classroom. UPPOPPR set Joni and her participants up for success.
Well, what is UPPOPPR and are trainers still referring to the term?
Mamana says UPPOPPR was so important during training and created by a former Xerox employee. Why was UPPOPPR such a significant game changer for their training programs? At Xerox there was a notion that the service technicians should complete more training courses with the sales representatives. “Well, service technicians didn’t want to be sales people or even compared to them,” explains Mamana, “so UPPOPPR is simply a way to get the students engaged and allows them to think through the ‘why’ of how this class will help them personally, help the customer and help their company. It’s a way to ‘set the stage’ for the rest of the module.”
- U – “Utility” It answers the question “What’s in it for me?” Trainers set the stage by telling a story, asking questions such as “Who wants to make more money?” In Xerox’s service technician training programs, Mamana probed the technicians with questions about required job skills and responsibility. Then Mamana revealed a chart showing their similarities to sales people and the “ah-ha” moment clicked. Tie utility to personal, job and corporation.
- P – “Product or Goal” Answers what they’re going to achieve, “When you leave here today you’ll be able to call your customer, prospect, sell more…” Discusses the end-goal.
- P –”Process” – Asks the question, “How do we get there and how are we going to do this?” These are all questions they have in their mind. Trainer explains she’ll teach skills, there’s a course binder and here’s the agenda. Content answers “What?” and Method answers “How?”
- O – “Objective” – Focuses on SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Results, Timely). Trainers explain how he or she is going to test them to see if they retained the material. For example, “At end of this module, you’ll be able to do… X specific to the problem and use these behaviors to get Y results.”
- P – “Process Justification” - By offering justification of the processes set in place, attendees will understand the answers to questions like, “Where this came from?” and “Why this source?”The reasoning behind the training program.
- P – “Proof of ability” – This step reassures students that they will be able to meet the end goal. Students who think they wouldn’t be able to do this, have self-doubt, are insecure and already “checked out” benefit the most from this stage in order to move forward in training. Mamana would use analogies like “Do you remember the first time you got in your car?” “How did you feel?” With a reply like, nervous, scared, and uncomfortable, Mamana would follow up with “How do you feel about driving a car now?” Trainees need to know they will be able to do this!
- R – “Review Mamana ends her introduction with a review, “Now that we all understand, we’re going to start class.” She’ll recap what the trainees will endure by reviewing POU – process + objective + utility. “When you leave Friday, you’ll be able to do X…”
In short, UPPOPPR is one of the best ways for a trainer to begin an introduction to a training program. Aside from setting the expectations for the students, following this acronym as a guide can alleviate insecurities in your students for better performance. What are some of the other questions a trainer should ask their students? Have you heard of this term and are you still using it?