Training Program? Cancel It, We Need Results Now

Oh, we get it! We need business success, productivity, and results at yearend, and we’ll reschedule training when things calm down. But they don’t calm down. Many pit crews of fast performing race cars stand ready with arms crossed shaking their heads while their driver continues speeding around the track – running out of gas and destroying tires. We get the pressure to make numbers, and canceling training causes us to limp across the finish line. The goal is to finish strong and push the envelope on our time and energy – but without the appropriate fuel – including sleep, meditation, and balanced priorities – we walk through our day until we breakdown! We don’t even finish the race. This competition is not a sprint; it continues every day, year, decade, and century – we are not simply in a one-time race. Life is a continuous battle requiring recovery time, reflection and training, and it all has to be done at the speed of business.

Many of us are aware that we learn less from the classroom and more from real life, via McCall’s model of 70-20-10. “Development will be about 70% from on-the-job experiences from working on tasks and problems; about 20% from feedback and working around good and bad examples of the need; and 10% from courses and reading.”
Our job is to make training both relevant and a simulation of on-the- job experiences – so we are ‘doing’ via hands on interaction, and not just sitting daydreaming during a lecture. If training is viewed as an expense and conducted so that it seems like a lecture – then perhaps dropping training is the right call. However, if we have a mindset of investing in people, we recognize that training programs help our employees become more engaged and bring their very best to goal achievement. “Your best week of results will occur, the week right after training!”

Managers should be sensitive to costs. In the case of training, it is less about the actual program costs, and more about the revenue not coming in because people are in training instead of working. In my experience, my teams’ most productive weeks were actually the weeks immediately following their training. Without training, we receive paycheck effort, whereas after training, employees feel valued and developed, all of their cylinders are humming and all of their energy is going after our goals. Good training allows trainees to attack their objectives and feel rejuvenated. They are flooded with new ideas and excitement for the final yearend push. Achieving daily goals, in this way, means that training MORE than pays for the time out of their day job. Training gets us closer to the goal.

Engagement increases the closer we get to victory!

Side note: I have eliminated the word “class” from any description of training. I run workshops, seminars, roundtables, and programs – but not ‘classes.’ The image of a ‘class’ is circa 1910 – evoking pictures of red school houses, a school marm with yardsticks, and bells ringing to change classes. All of these images are counterproductive to the type of training where debates rage and learning grows exponentially.

As a top performing company or brand, we are proud of our customer focus and our excellent product quality and product delivery. We compare our talented people to Ferrari, Johnson & Johnson, great sports teams and Charles Schwab – brands we believe stand for quality and a legacy of success. It’s important to realize that even Ferrari’s need a pit stop!

We have got to feed the machine. If our sales force is going to drive revenue and run on all eight cylinders by working extra hard and extra smart, top performers must be fed! Training is our food and our pit stop. Trainers and leaders have a responsibility to build programs that our sales teams and employees are fighting to attend. Shame on us if we build boring, punitive or assessment-based training environments that no one wants to attend. Rich training is development where people learn, think, and reflect on something about themselves and others. People managers and employees who serve customers are engineers of human capital, and they need to be fed. That’s either a problem or an incredible opportunity to advance results.

U.S. Naval Air Corps motto: In times of crisis and challenge, we are asked to step it up; and yet we can only rise to our level of training.

Biggity Bam – Bring our Ferrari talent to a training pit stop, and finish strong.

Jim

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