EMPLOYEE TRAINING: Find Their Zone of Fit & Then Train

Employee Training is Incredibly Effective When Done Right….

and a waste of money when done wrong.

The Budweiser draft horses are going to be entered into the Kentucky Derby and the thoroughbred race horses will be pulling the wagon.  Neither will be successful (despite hours or years of training).

If you are an employer, Training or Retraining works as long as it matches or improves the person’s natural fit.  Put the person in their Zone of Fit and then train them.  Training will get you more return on your training dollars that way.  (Having spent twenty-plus years of my life in the training business.  I can attest to this truth firsthand.)

Let me give you some first-hand examples and distinctions.

Employee Training:  Why Does it Matter?

Solving the nature vs. nurture debate is only relevant to us because it impacts how you decipher Following Your Fit. Knowing which is the difficult part of “fit.”

Some things about a person cannot be added, subtracted, or changed by any amount of training.  Fear of loud noises, for example, is something everyone is born with, fear of flying is something you learn.

Let me make one distinction that may help you when you are thinking about your hiring for attributes.

Honor what is innate and train what is learned.

The researchers termed this phenomenon “instinctive drift”—the proclivity of an animal—regardless of training—to drift toward its “natural, inborn” state. 1

Employee Training:  Nature vs. Nurture:  Introversion or Shyness?

Here is another example of the importance of making the distinction.  The personality division between introverts and extroverts is virtually in every personality test because those two traits are assumed to be inborn.

But many people confuse the trait of introversion with the state of shyness.  Although similar in its expression, introversion is not shyness. According to researchers, “Introverts, like extroverts, do not fear social situations, but simply prefer solitary activities. Shy individuals would prefer to be with others but are restrained by the experience of shyness” 2

And why does the distinction matter?  Because shyness can be changed with training; introversion is assumed to be innate.

Mark the Introvert

Mark was, by nature, an introvert.  He really enjoyed his alone time and had a few close friends he kept in touch with regularly.  Big social gatherings bored him and left him feeling drained after most of them.

Since he was seeking investors for the expansion of his animation studio, the task required him to prospect for investors within many social venues.  Because of years in the corporate world where he had honed his social skills, he was more than capable of the task; but frankly, he preferred being alone on his own computer creating animations or with his family.

The goal, however, was important enough to him to do what was necessary.  Mark had created his normal work environment to fit his introversion; however, because he was introverted, not shy, he had developed the social skills to create his dreams.

When Mark was in the corporate world, he worked well from home and always fulfilled his tasks with excellence and on time.

Emily:  Painfully Shy

Contrast this to Emily who, by her own definition, is painfully shy.  Researchers would characterize her as highly socially anxious.  She “hides out” in her aloneness and often prods and scolds herself into trying to get out and meet new people.

She never does it, but always thinks she should.  Emily works in a warehouse, where she sorts and manages packages to get them out the door as fast as possible.  She enjoys her job but feels that her shyness has negatively impacted both her personal life and her professional opportunities.

Despite being shy, she is very organized and efficient and believes she could easily be responsible for a much larger section of the warehouse, perhaps even moving up to management.

Because of her social anxiety, however, she has never been asked or even considered asking for advancement or more money.  Emily’s shyness has negatively impacted her career but can be changed with training.

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Employee Training:  Honor What is Innate

Introversion is not social anxiety or a lack of confidence.  It is simply a preference for a way of being in the world.  Many scientists and even actors are by nature, introverts.  Scientists love getting lost in hours of research and scientific exploration to come up with a scientific discovery.  Much of their work is done alone.

Actors often report spending much time alone as a child, with a very fertile imagination being the result.  That vivid imagination is part of what helps them create their dramatic roles.

If someone is introverted or extroverted, honor that innate disposition.  Make the distinction, however, about other parts of that employee that need training and pursue it.

The Profiles PXT Select tests for Sociability, which is an extroversion/introversion scale, though it is officially deemed Outgoing vs. Reserved.


  1. Breland, K., & Breland, M. (1961). The Misbehavior of Organisms. American Psychologist, 16, 681-684.
  2. Henderson, L., Zimbardo, P., & Carducci, B. (1999). Shyness.


(Using Knowledge You Already Have)

    PROFIT: Bank Your Course™

    PROFIT: Bank Your Communication™

    PROFIT: Bank Your Business™

    NICHE: Follow Your Fit™