If They Knew What to Do, They Would Be Doing it
All leaders have a constant challenge of how to have their team members perform tasks that are up to their expectations. It seems so simple to us, but sadly we are becoming less and less satisfied with the outcomes. When I am speaking to groups from our industry, I love asking the question, “Are the people you are attracting now better or worse than five years ago?” Every time I get the same response, the people we are attracting are worse than five years ago.
If everything rises and falls on leadership, and it does, that speaks loud and clear that we must change what we are doing with regards to training our people. Often, those on the front lines have had minimal experience. They may have even lied about their training and experience.
When working with our teams, we often try to explain specific tasks or procedures to the best of our ability. It can be very frustrating when we explain it three times, and we have three different outcomes. It can be challenging at best to describe how we would like to see the process completed. If you do not believe this, I would love for you to try and explain to me the best way to tie your shoes. Even though we have done it thousands of times, that does not mean we can explain how to do it. Always remember that success leaves clues!
We can quickly learn from the best sports teams and successful companies. One example is that all major sports teams have training camps. Do you and your company have a training camp equivalent for your people?
A few years ago, there was a new Costco opened in Barrhaven. My darling wife thought it would be a great idea to go there on opening day. What I witnessed on that opening night was something that worked like a well-oiled machine. I wondered how a brand-new store with hundreds of new staff could work so effectively. The answer was that they had invested time and resources in training and developing a team spirit.
Why is it that fire drills in school were such a good idea? While in business, we do not see the value in training drills for our staff. We often complain that we do not have the time or money for training. Ironically, we can always find the time and money to a job the second time.
The most successful and profitable companies all have comprehensive training programs. All employees must be trained before they can go to work. After the initial training, there are ongoing and regular sessions. The training must include the industries and company’s standards. Without standards, there will be many ways to do the same job; it can be very confusing and unsafe. The continuing training programme will complement what the team already knows, or possibly stop doing or only plain forgotten. Our people want training that will help them do a great job. It is up to the leaders to deliver the best training available.
In some cases, the leaders must bring in experts from outside the company to help with some of the training. Great teams have expert trainers. The leaders need to recognize that they may be too busy and, in some cases, may not know the processes themselves. These sessions must include refresher training and may consist of the introduction of new techniques or technology or health and safety protocols.
Imagine if we were to take a person from the Middle East, say Dubai, and expected them to be a great hockey player within a week. They would first have to learn the basics, how to tie their skates, learn how to skate, learn how to fall, dress for the cold, and the list goes on. The things that seem so basic to us can be an enormous challenge for that new person on your team. If you want to look professional, which you are, you need to have a standardized training system. This will ensure that everyone’s job will be easier, including your own.
The training is simple and basic, yet most of us do not take the time to start the process. Another question I love to ask groups is, “If you were going to try something new for the first time, where would you go to learn how to do it.” Overwhelming, I hear the same answer, online, then I ask where? “YouTube”
We all carry a phone with us, yet we miss the opportunities to record the best way of doing a particular job, then share it with others.
Lately, I have been very busy working with companies, recording specific processes, and editing them with words, describing what is happening. A very simple tool yet extremely useful when the training environment is loud and possibly dirty. If we want to see great results, then we need to train our people the way we want them to perform. Or as sports teams have been saying for years, play the way you practiced.
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