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The Growth Report
HR 2012-3

TRAINING - The 4 Power Tools Of Quality Training


According to the Harvard Business Review, only 10% of the population has what is called “the learning mind-set”: people who seek out and enjoy learning.  The other 90% will not look to improve their skills unless they have to as a part of their job requirements.
 
If you want people to move in a certain direction, you have to map out that direction and continue to point to it over and over again!  This is the purpose of Training.  Keep in mind; Training is not just a one time “Orientation” or “Introduction”.  This is the classic mistake that a “Teacher” makes.  “I told you the information, why didn’t you do well on your test?”  This sets up a one-way communication system that stunts the growth of your company.  “I told you once, now go do it!”  And usually there’s some unsaid “limit” of how many times we will “tell them again” before we finally fire them or they quit. 
 
The classic training model steps:
  1. Set the standard
  2. Teach/Train the standard
  3. Model the standard
  4. Expect the standard
  5. Inspect the standard
 
A “teacher” or “manager” may look at this model and ask “Who has time for that?   The people I hire have to pick it up quick because I don’t have time for hand holding”.  Some managers see “training” as getting in the way of the real “work” that needs to be done!  This model doesn’t “fit” into their paradigm.  However, this model allows a visionary to reproduce the vision in the hearts and minds of many!  This is how a culture is developed - BUT IT HAS TO INVOLVE TRAINING more than just teaching.  But we know that 90% of people aren’t natural “learners” so why would sending in just a “teacher” be the answer?
 
Training is much more personal and deliberate and requires a “Trainers” mindset.  If I hire a Personal Trainer, I’m not going to be happy with someone that just tells me to read the chapter and do what it says at the end and then criticize me if I do it wrong.  I’m looking for someone that will spend time with me, teaching me and evaluating as we go along, making changes as needed.  A Trainer and a Teacher don’t have to be the same person but it’s an advantage if they are.  Managers that are not interested in “training” their staff or that adopt the mindset of “I don’t have time to train” will soon find the quality of their company in decline.  This is the great trap of the “Tyranny Of The Urgent” cycle.  Constantly feeling like you are putting out all the little fires that continue to pop up every day and you don’t have time for “Bigger Picture” thinking.  This cycle always leads to the stress to survive and robs you of your vision to thrive!  In my research with groups that I have been with, “Not having enough time” continues to be one of the two highest stressors in our lives!  Second only to “My Job”.
 
Not every personality lends itself naturally to being a Trainer.  That’s OK.  A business owner may not be the best Trainer... BUT they must know and embrace the value of quality training time for their company and ensure that the best person is in place to empower the workforce.
 
You can see this in companies that have become leaders in their industry.  Cathy Truitt, Founder of Chick-fil-A is a businessman.  He is in the business to create profits.  His business decisions are based on creating profits for his company.  However, he sees the value of well-trained employees and creating a “positive culture” in his stores.  This cultural training gives him a great advantage over his competitors.  While his competitors are struggling with the stress to survive, he is at rest with the vision to thrive!  You can feel the culture of Chick-fil-A as soon as you walk in the door.  It’s very pleasant and inviting.  That doesn’t happen by accident.
 
The same concept is in play at Starbucks, QuikTrip, Best Buy and Southwest Airlines.  Again, their owners are making decisions based on revenues, however they have embraced the extreme value of training employees to create a culture that people will “prefer” over the competition.  How many coffee shops will you pass by to find a Starbucks?  How many gas stations will you drive by to get to a QuikTrip?
 
These companies aren’t industry leaders just because of their superior product.  To become a top competitor, you must have a great product PLUS a great delivery system!  And a major part of this delivery system is the FRONT LINE EMPLOYEE!  This is where your product “touches” the customer.  To neglect the value of this “touch” is to doom your company to mediocrity and your employees to the tyranny of the urgent.  However, to recognize the value of this “encounter” and to equip your employees with all the tools necessary to leverage this encounter is to raise a banner of success and to march into a future of growth.
 
Poor training won’t necessarily keep you from becoming popular.  And being popular can keep you in business for a long time.  But this isn’t just about being popular.  This is about maximizing your company’s product and becoming a leader in your city or in your industry!  Many companies are popular, but are they preferred?  Popularity means they KNOW about you.  “Preferability” means they CHOSE you! Advertising and marketing can help you be popular, but quality training is how you move from being popular to being preferred!  And, it’s obvious, that Preferability means Profitability!
 
So, let’s talk about what’s involved in Quality Training...
 
THE 4 POWER TOOLS OF EFFECTIVE TRAINING
Let me share with you The 4 Power Tools Of Effective Training that I have used with my employees for the past 10 years.  These tools equip and empower your employees to be successful and productive both for themselves and for your company.  And this keeps everyone HAPPY! 
 
Power Tool #1 – Get The Right Person In The Right Place!
 
A “Teacher” mindset is simply focused on giving out specific information and then receiving the right answers to the questions they ask.  I was a science teacher for 15 years and constantly battled with students to get them to ask questions.  They had been programmed by our educational system to NOT raise their hand!  Do you remember many students in your classes asking questions?  Exactly!  Oh, there was always one question that was always asked, “What’s on the test?”
 
When you contrast this “teacher” mindset with a “trainer” mindset, the outcomes are very different.  A trainer is much more interested in helping people “understand” the process that leads to right answers - the “why’s” and “how’s” of the matter.  A trainer thrives on questions and often creates a learning environment that generates questions from the students, i.e., role-playing, modeling, lab work, experimenting and implementing new information.  The Trainer (Developer) is looking for right “thinking”, not just right “answers”!  This approach sets up a two-way communication between employee and trainer.  New information is practiced and then discussed using questions and more practice.  Evaluation takes place on the spot!  Improvements are made before you even leave the training room.  This results in so much timesaving’s and customer retention because you’re not left with “trial and error” period while your employees “figure it out”.  They figure it out in the training room!
 
With these two major differences in approach, it’s vital that a company has a TRAINER in charge of employee training!  However, this is rarely the case.  Most of the time, the manager has the responsibility, whether they want it or not.  Other times, the person that has been on the job the longest (and therefore is supposed to know the most) gets the job of training new employees.  In some cases, unfortunately, the responsibility is simply given to whoever has time to do it. 
 
Even if you hire a great employee, unless you train them well AND consistently, they will gradually move to AVERAGE simply for lack of leadership and training.   Don’t let this happen in your company!  Find the Trainer and set them loose!  They will love it and so will those being trained!
 
 #2 Power Tool – Systemize All Your Training
 
Whether it’s skills or procedures, your training needs to be put into a reproducible model that can be used over and over always producing the same result - a well equipped employee ready to handle any situation that comes up in their area.  It will be very difficult to do this if your training process isn’t documented and systemized.  Policies and Procedures are important to a smooth running company, but just as important is how they are carried out on a daily basis.  Skill training is vital for your staff (and your company) to succeed, but are you set up to teach everyone to do it the same exact way every time?  If not, you will have inconsistencies in your product or service without any way to identify why sometimes it works good and other times it flops!  Each of these skills and procedures and services make it on to your “training list” and all of a sudden your weekly meetings become very purposeful and productive!  If you just encourage a certain outcome  without equipping your staff with the tools to consistently create that outcome, your setting yourself up for inconsistency that could really hurt your company.  
 
#3 Power Tool – Train Your Culture
How does someone “fit” into your company?  This includes your policies and procedures, but it goes beyond just that.  A new employee needs to be introduced and trained in how to “think” in your company.  If you don’t train them, they will come to work for you with their own way of thinking or “on their own terms”.  They will be willing at first, because it gets them the job.  But after the honeymoon, these employees can be very difficult.  It’s not necessarily because they’re a bad employee, it’s just that they haven’t been trained!  Yes, you may have “told” them, but that doesn’t mean they have been trained! 
 
These struggling employees are often the “touch” point of your company with your customers.  If I have not specifically trained my staff in how I want them to think about the company, then I am leaving the company up for THEM TO INTERPRET!  And if they’re having a bad day, they may take it out on the company!  This is where talk at the coffee pot or water jug can become caustic and bad for business. 
 
All my employees need to know “why” we’re coming to work every day!  And it has to be for more than making money; more than just getting a paycheck; more than just punching a time clock!  What DIFFERENCE is your company making?  How is the atmosphere at your company lining up with the passionate vision that got it started?  This goes back to Chick-fil-A, Starbucks, Southwest Airlines and QuikTrip.  These companies have a very specific identity and they have passed that identity on to each and every employee to ensure that the ultimate “thinking” of the founder is being portrayed even at the lowest levels of hierarchy.
 
Every company has a culture!  The question is, “Are you aware of yours and are you deliberately seeding it into the hearts of your employees?” 
 
#4 Power Tool – Your Training Must Be Continual And Mandatory!
 
All good to great companies maintain a consistent and continual cycle of training.  I’m not just talking about having meetings.  These are regular, MANDATORY, training sessions where you are focusing on a specific area of your business and making it remarkable and reproducible for others! 
 
You can’t just tell them once and expect them to do it.  Then get upset and blame them when they don’t do it.
 
Deliberate and constant training radically improves employee’s understanding of company objectives and helps to raise and get set standards of performance. 
 
If you don’t train, you can’t expect people to get to the next level!  That’s why most companies stay small or have to continually address the same issues and problems over and over again.
 
Remember, learning is not something that everyone does naturally.  Since most of your staff will be reluctant to take the time to train, you must make it fun, interesting, stimulating and even an exciting experience.  Above all, TRAINING MUST BE MANDATORY!  Put it on the schedule as a non-negotiable commitment. 
 
We retain the most information when we are actively involved in our learning such as when we participate in role-playing or other learning exercises.  At the very least, always use visual aids because it drastically increases retention.  “Data Dumps” are ok for initial sessions when you have to relay a lot of information.  However, the highest retention will come from practical application and regular and consistent involvement.  Set the time, reserve the room and make it mandatory!
 
Training Makes Money!  It doesn’t just cost money.
 
Quality training is guaranteed to make you money!  Your employees will know how to handle any situation that comes up – they will handle it exactly the way you want them to and have trained them to!!  It’s the same with customer service and every other aspect of your business.

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• Training - The 4 Power Tools Of Quality Training

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