Training for Competitive Advantage

The real value of training.


As I spend time in businesses today I see more people standing around looking busy or avoiding the eyes of their employeers in order to remove themselves from the layoff radar. So assuming we have optimized our cost structures, not simply hacked away “costs”,  how is it we can get more from the jobless recovery? How is it that we can position our businesses for the uncertain future?

If we are to remain competitive we must develop flexible organizations that can adapt to the marketplace at a moments’ notice. The key to our survival is using our assets to fullest advantage. No, I am not talking about the machines on our shop floor or stock of shelves. Nor am I talking spending our precious capital on projects that take three to five years to show payback? Unarguable the best asset that our companies have is our people. How many machines increase in value over their life cycle? Our people are the only asset that gets better with age.

To unleash our peoples potential we must allow them to use that part of their body that resides above their shoulders. Yes, I am talking about that little appreciated appendage, the head.

Training is the key to tapping this untold resource. How many of us realize the investment to stay competitive in the world market. German steel maker Krupp spent $51 million training 4,200 would be workers in 1986 alone! Top companies are willing to spend up to 20% of their employees time in training. This will be about one day a week spent off the job and in the classroom! Are you willing to make that type of investment? If you are not, are you willing to lose business to those who will!

Before we run off and throw money at the problem let’s get a better understanding of what training is and how we can guarantee success.

Webster defines Training as:

“To teach so as to make fit, qualified, or proficient”

With this definition in mind we will now point out some specifics that your training programs should contain. Keep in mind that training and education are very different. Education answers the “why” and training answers the “how”.

Define a Learning Objective

There is a famous saying “What gets measured gets done.” This goes ten fold for training. For the session to be successful it must be known what the expected results of the session are. Training should result in an observable, measurable change in the behavior of those involved. We are trying to impart new ideas, attitudes, behaviors.

Provide for Learning

How many of us had a bad experience in school at one time or another? Almost everyone has been embarrassed in front of the class because we did not know an answer. While, the rest of us never raised our hand for fear of being embarrassed in case we did not know the answer. Learning is a very personal thing. It cannot be forced upon us. Remember how much you wanted to succeed when you were in school and foster an environment that makes learning the goal.

Make Training Reflect Reality

Always gear the session to reflect as closely as possible how the new skills will be used on the job. In other words work with real examples.

Train as close as possible to actual job conditions. Never try to train shop workers in the boardroom or your executives in the shop cafeteria. Remember learning comes easier if everyone feels at home in their environment.

Impart a Sense of Direction

Leave the learners with a clear plan to use this new skill/skills. Nothing is worse than learning a new skill and not being able to use it for three months.

No One Wants To Fail

When was the last time you were heading into work and said to yourself “I just cannot wait to get to work so I can really Screw something up”? Everyone has a need to succeed. As a trainer you must adapt your style to suit that of your learners. Remember, your learners are there to succeed. Each session starts out with high expectations, you must build on this.

Get Feedback

The best source for improvement is to question your learners. Provide a questionnaire that is filled our after each session.

Make sure that if there are any problems you deal with them before the next session. It is critical to listen to these suggestions!

The Bottom Line

If you cover the bases that have been discussed your session will be a success! We have seen people who have been branded as lazy and counterproductive turned completely around! All it takes is a desire to help make things better, and your time. Who knows, you might just learn something yourself?

Call/write now. +1-202-854-9744

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