Dr Omar Hasan Kasule, Sr. MB ChB, MPH, DrPH (Harvard) Professor of Medicine & Director, Training Center, International Islamic University PO Box 70 Jln Sultan PJ 46700 Telephone 60 3 755 3433 fax 60 3 757 7970 Paper at 7th Regional Leadership Training Program Durban, South Africa 1-31 July 1996


This paper presents the concept of performance gap which is the difference between the ideal and the actual in organizational performance. It defines training, its methodology, planning and evaluation.


KEY WORDS/CONCEPTS: performance gap, training, education, development, methodology of training, tauhidi paradigm in training, training opportunities


The performance gap is the difference between the potential and actual performance of organizations and individuals. Many individuals and communities all over the world are experiencing phenomena of revival and renewal. There is a new reawakening and a determination to make tomorrow better than yesterday. However the zeal, commitment and efforts of the revival have not been perfectly or completely translated into practical results that everyone can see in the society. The practical achievements fall far short of the potential. Success in building and managing institutions, the backbone of real and sustained change, has been limited in several communities and countries. The gap between aspirations and achievements is due to a relative deficiency of practical skills in leadership and management. These skills are not in-born. They can be taught or developed through experience on the job. Individuals and organizations pay a high price in terms of lost opportunities for the continued existence of the performance gap. On the job training is needed to cover the gap. Training is an investment in people, the most valuable resource that an organization has. Investment in training has a very high future pay-off in terms of better performance, productivity, and growth. The preponderant majority of workers and activists are either untrained or self-trained in the field of leadership and management skills. Rapid advances in technology make skills obsolete. Continuous retraining is needed to maintain effectiveness


To put training in perspective, you should be able to distinguish it from 2 related concepts: education and development. Training is essentially learning on the job. It aims at equipping the worker with practical skills that are usable immediately on the job. Training in this sense differs from education and development. Education is acquisition of general knowledge. It is academic and may not necessarily be usable in a practical work situation. Development is general improvement in knowledge and skills that occurs passively as an individual belongs to a certain group and stays in it.


The Qur’an gave us examples of learning by two leaders: Adam and Musa (peace be upon them) (1,2). Man is always learning and discovering what he did not know before (3). Each task requires knowledge and training (4) . Leadership skills can be learned by reading and thinking about leadership styles, and observing successful leaders, practical experience and learning from failures and successes, and formal training programs. A word of caution is called for here. Leadership and management can not be learned solely in a class-room. Formal training programs serve only to open the gate to the major learning that occurs in the school of life and practical experience. Learning from practical experience is enhanced by the guidelines provided by formal training.


As mentioned at the beginning the aim of LTP is training. You have to avoid a situation of teaching without training. The knowledge and skills imparted in training are the same however the methods used differ according to circumstances of time, place, audience, and trainer. What works in one setting may not work in another. Methods used for youths may not work with older persons. The training program has been planned to be used in an interactive classroom session with plenty of time for trainee participation in case studies, exercises, and workshop discussions. The material has also been adapted for audio and video cassettes. It will soon be available as an interactive computer training program. Although this program has been prepared specifically for interactive class-room presentation, it is easily adaptable for other training methods for example: mentoring, traditional lecture format. In such cases only the basic concept section of the training material may be used. Training aids enhance the quality of training but are not in themselves a method of training. They can not be a substitute for good planning and presentation of the training material. The material for this program can be used for mentoring as well. Mentoring is an excellent training method that has fallen into disuse over the years. It generally operates informally but it is possible to set up formal organizational mentoring programs. Success of mentoring depends a lot on the protege-mentor relationship. This relationship could have positive and negative aspects.


Interactive presentations and analysis of case studies are the main methods of instruction. The format will avoid the traditional lecture type of presentation. The 'speaker'  acts as a facilitator and the participants are required to participate actively in the discussions. Since the participants are selected on the basis of demonstrated prior leadership ability and experience, each one of them will have a contribution that will enrich the program overall. The availability of a work-book with an outline greatly facilitates the interactive format. Presenters use overhead projectors or flip-charts to enable the participants follow the presentations. An interactive presentation is made in the plenary sessions. There are small group discussions of the topics and case analysis followed by a general workshop.


A work-book with outlines of all the presentations is provided to all participants to encourage active participation. This is a work-along work-book that is used throughout the training session. The outlines are written in such a way that they convey minimal information and are therefore not a substitute for active listening and participation. Some of them are in the form of questions. The participants have to listen carefully and attentively to the lecture or participate actively in the discussions to be able to take down notes in the workbook. Note-taking is emphasized as a major pedagogical tool. The participants are trained to be trainers. They are not the final 'target audience'. It is therefore be of utmost importance that they faithfully absorb and record the material to be able to reproduce it faithfully in a training situation that they will lead later.


Reading material in the form of textbooks and selected articles is given to the participants. Some of the reading material has to be read before the program.


Case-studies from Muslim history and contemporary experience are used to discuss and internalize the leadership and management skills presented. In addition to the case studies from the seerah, participants analyze and discuss their contemporary experiences.


Exercises that test comprehension or that give the participant an opportunity to internalize the concepts taught are used. These are exercises that provide an opportunity for participants to develop case studies from their local experience and analyze them. The exercises help the understanding of basic concepts and their application to local issues and problems. Some sessions will end with actual work-plans that participants can use in their organizations.


The tauhidi paradigm in Islam can help address the issue of integration in organizations. Modern organizations are experiencing problems due to lack of a holistic context in which they operate. The solution to one problem may create other problems elsewhere. Too much specialization in functional areas has reduced the ability of leaders to see the whole picture. Islam and its paradigm of tauhid has much to contribute to solving the dilemmas of today's management. Tauhid provides a center of gravity, a source, and a unity that can help rebuild the holistic picture. This is because tauhid provides an intellectual framework for understanding the unity of creation and existence. It teaches that everything has the same source and therefore in a natural state, harmony must reign.


Planning of LTPs proceeds in stages: Needs assessment, selection of training method, planning, execution, and evaluation of the training program. You should start by acknowledging the existence of needs. A need is the gap between current and desired results. Needs assessment is identifying and prioritizing the needs. Needs analysis is determining the causes of the needs. The needs must be ranked to enable appropriate planning of training. The methods of training suitable for the target audience are selected: lectures, workshops, conferences, seminars, camps, debates, demonstration, dialog etc. The execution of the program should be planned in detail. This includes pre-program arrangements, the actual program and post program. Speakers/trainers are selected on the basis of experience and area specialty, seminar experience, and special talents. The program must be evaluated. Both short-term and long-term impacts should be evaluated. The process of the program must be evaluated with view to making improvements later.


The following are methods of training that can be used: one-to-one, Mentoring, Lectures, Discussion groups, Panel discussion, Debates, Dialog, Brain storming, Demonstration, In-basket exercises, Case Studies, Role Playing, Simulation, Assignment of projects, Entertainment/games, Self-directed learning, Personal development plan, Interactive video, Computer-based/programmed learning, and Multimedia.


One-to-one: This is the best method because of the personal contact and interaction between trainer and trainee. It ensures immediate feed-back. It is however very expensive since it requires a trainer for every trainee and there are usually not enough trainers


Mentoring: Involves assigning a trainee to a senior and experienced leader or manager who in this case is called the mentor. The trainee works closely with the mentor usually as an assistant. Training is passive, the trainee observes and asks questions. The mentor may also point out special learning opportunities


Lectures: A lecture is a presentation by one trainer addressing several trainees in a classroom environment. Its advantages are:: logical presentation, broad coverage, and the trainer being  in control. The disadvantage of a lecture is that trainees are passive except during discussion at the end.


Discussion groups: Trainees are divided into small groups to focus on discussing assigned topics. They may or may not report back to a plenary session


Panel discussion: A panel of 3-5 subject matter experts makes short presentations and then answers questions from the floor. They may also exchange ideas about their separate presentations on points of agreement and disagreement.


Debates: Two sides to an issue are presented and are defended by two debaters. Sometimes a debate can occur between teams of 2-4 debaters. The trainees who are the audience may ask questions or make comments. The aim of the debaters is to convince the audience that their views are correct


Dialog: This method can be used in a one-to-one setting or could be carried out by 2 or more individuals infront of an audience of trainees.


Brain-storming: This is an open expression of various view-points. It involves listing ideas initially without having to screen them. After that discussions are held to sieve through them and conclusions are reached at the end


Demonstration: This is the best training method. It involves direct experiencing of  the skills being taught (5,6,7,8,9) . Teaching by demonstration can occur in 4 different ways. (a) The trainer makes the action, explains, and the trainees observe (b) The trainees read the instructions while the trainer does the action (c) The trainer gives instructions while the trainee does the action (d) The trainees do the action and finish then the trainer gives feed-back at the end.


In-basket or in-tray exercises: Specific questions or topics are written on pieces of paper and participants are asked to pick the papers at random. They then speak on any topic chosen. The trainer and other participants may make comments or additions. This method can be fun. 


Case studies: The case-study method is a method for learning about a complex instance based on a comprehensive understanding of that instance obtained by extensive description and analysis of that instance taken as a whole and in context. A case is a write-up of an actual real-life event or experience. It may have actually happened or may be a mere simulation. The trainees study and analyze the case and they have to answer some questions on understanding the events and proposing solutions to the problem or problems raised. Case studies can be used in research and evaluation in addition to their use in training. Several types of case studies can be used: illustrative/descriptive, exploratory, critical instance, program implementation, program effects, and cumulative. A word of caution is needed in the study of cases based on historical material. Our purpose is not to engage in specialized and detailed historical analysis. The historical material is used for illustration and learning purposes only. We can not pass final judgments on the decisions made in the past because we have the advantage of hindsight. Some of the decisions were made with knowledge that we may not have now such as revelation or contextual details that were not recorded .


Role-playing: A trainee is asked to play out an assigned role in a given situation. The trainer and other trainees then make their comments. 


Simulation: This method is similar to role-playing. A real-life situation is recreated and the reactions and behaviors of several people involved are observed and are critiqued. The method is best  used in crisis management training.


Assignment of projects:  Trainees can learn a lot from working on a practical project under guidance of the trainer. The project is presented at the end . The trainer and the other trainees have the opportunity to comment


Entertainment/games: A lot of learning for both young and adults can occur during activities that are normally considered entertainment. The informal atmosphere relaxes the trainee and helps internalization. This method may not be appropriate for subjects that require a lot of concentration.


The following training opportunities/occasions can be used: workshops, conferences, seminars, and camps. A workshop involves discussions, exchange of views, solving problems or exercises by a group of 5-10 persons. It is usually used in conjunction with another training method, for example a lecture may be followed by a workshop session. A conference can be planned to include lectures, workshops, seminars, debates etc. A lot of learning at a conference arises from the interaction that occurs among many people of various backgrounds and experience. A seminar, a smaller version of a conference, offers an opportunity for lectures, panel discussions, workshops, dialog and debate. Youths may find the camaraderie, informal and down to earth atmosphere of the camp very conducive to learning. Camps have also proved successful in training senior executives in areas like stress


The trainer should be careful in being gradual in his instruction (10,11). Introduction of too many things at the same time will confuse and defeat the purpose of training.


Every training program must be evaluated for its short-term and long-term impact. Short-term evaluation includes: reaction of the trainers, and how much has been learned. Long-term evaluation includes: behavioral changes and impact on actual performance. Overall success of the program is assessed as the extent to which identified needs were addressed and whether actual behavioral change has been effected.





Surat al Baqara: 31-38



Qur’an 18:60-82







"Salman reported that it was said to him: Your Apostle ( may peace be upon him ) teaches you about everything, even about excrement. He replied, Yes, he has forbidden us to face the Qibla at the time of excretion or urination, or cleaning with right hand or with less than three pebbles, or with dung or bone"

Muslim 1: 160, Chapter 106, Hadith # 504



            You have be indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern ( of conduct for any one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the praise of Allah.            Qur'an 33: 21



            Those were the ( prophets ) who received Allah's guidance: Copy the guidance they received; say " No reward for this do I ask of you: This is no less than a Messeage for the nations." Qur'an 6:90



            There was indeed in them an excellent example for you to follow for those whose hope is in Allah and in the Last Day. But if any turn away, truly Allah is Free of all wants, Worthy of all Praise. Qur'an 60:6



            There is for you an excellent example ( to follow ) in Abraham and those with him, when they said to their people: " We are clear of you and of whatever you worship besides Allah: we have rejected you, and there has arisen, between us and you, enmity and hatred forever unless you believe in Allah and Him alone": But not when Abraham said to his father: " I will pray for forgiveness for you, though I have no power ( to get ) aught on your behalf from Allah ( they prayed ): " Our Lord! in you do we trust, and to you do we turn in repentance: to you is ( our ) final Goal. Qur'an 60:4



"Abu Qilaba said: Abu Sulaiman Malik b. al-Huwairith came to our mosque, and said: By Allah,  I shall offer prayer, though I do not intend to pray, I only intend to show you how I saw the Apostle of Allah ( may peace be upon him ) praying. The narrator said: ( He then prayed and ( he sat at the end of the first rak'ah when he raised his head after the last prostration". Abu Daud 1:216, hadith #84?



            "A good instructor is the one who starts teaching people simple subjects of knowledge before touching big difficult ones". Bukhari 1:60, hadith # 67



"It is reported on the authority of Ibn Abbas that Mu'adh said: The Messenger of Allah sent me ( as a governor of Yemen ) and ( at the time of departure ) instructed me thus: You will soon find yourself in a community one among the people of the Book, so first call them to testify that there is no god but Allah, that I ( Muhammad ) am the messenger of Allah, and if they accept this, then tell them that Allah has enjoined upon them five prayers during the day and the night and if they accept it, then tell them that Allah has made Zakat obligatory for them that it should be collected from the rich and distributed among the poor, and if they agree to it, don't pick up ( as a share of Zakat ) the best of their wealths. Beware of the supplication of the oppressed for there is no barrier between him and Allah". Muslim 1:14-15. Ch. 71.2.1:

Professor Omar Hasan Kasule July 1996