We all are familiar with the famous quote attributed to Albert Einstein that speaks to the perceived "definition of insanity". That quote states that insanity is "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results". It's quite humorous to think about, but in reality, how many times do we run afoul of that wise statement? How many times have you seen a company's answer to a mistake manifest itself as "retraining". Retrain, retrain, retrain! The problem is...the mistakes don't seem to go away. One thing is for certain though, each time the mistake is made, we retrain.
Does Albert Einstein's famous quote come to mind here? What we end up doing to our training efforts with the "retrain, retrain. retrain" mindset is we weaken it significantly. This is because training becomes viewed as, and associated with punishment in the minds of our workforce because the company only insists on training when something wrong has occurred. We want our workforce to look at training as a privilege or a positive. We want training to come across as, "the company is investing in me" versus "I'm in trouble".
We can help avoid the "retrain" cycle by offering rigorous levels of development for the workforce to progress through. These levels of development should be created by the subject matter experts of the operation along with area owners, and training staff. The levels should reflect realistic expectations of an individual within a certain time span of employment. Gates to higher levels can be reflected in the form of check-off lists, job observations, verbal questioning, and written assessments. The latter two (verbal questioning and written assessments) should only be used in conjunction with either the check-off lists or observation. This is due to the fact that there are many who can say what they should be doing, but, cannot put it into action.
The level gateways can be incentivized financially or with status and expanded responsibility. The aim is to create a sense of pride and achievement. If installed CORRECTLY, this development structure should help decrease mistakes that would normally activate the "retrain, retrain, retrain" philosophy. Use true structural employee development in your organization. Retraining at the point of a mistake typically won't get to the root cause of why an action was taken and the fear of punishment can serve as a block to material absorption.
I was speaking to a friend earlier today who works for a local organization known for the excellent financial compensation of its employees. This company was the face of excellence in its product category. Competitors always following them. Never the other way around. They were quite an operation.
The funny thing is, we were speaking about the way they were. What happened? Well, as with more than a few companies, sometimes success can breed complacency. Competitors catch up, we make some operational mistakes, we lose market share, and before you know it you're faced with having to make some tough decisions. You focus more and more on driving for operational perfection. You drive harder and harder, but get nowhere. You do everything except enact ways to maintain the culture. When the culture erodes from tough times in a company, you find quickly that money is not a sure bet way to hold your best talent or keep the happiness of those who stay.
Michael Rogers, a dynamic speaker on change for business and other business topics, points out 3 things employees need that begin with "R"...
These things must not decline, especially in times when more may be being asked of employees. These are things that denote that you care and appreciate your workforce. Care and appreciation, you'll find, are higher incentives to stay with a company and to work harder when called upon, than monetary incentive.
Leaders have to do so much more than simply remind employees they are fortunate to have a job. They have to do more than ensure they have just the basics to get along and work with. If we want higher productivity, loyalty and happy staff – we have to go the extra mile. The 3 R’s can help.
The company I mentioned at the outset has yet to apply these principles. The morale continues down a bad path. Here's hoping that this once great organization finds its way and recognizes how important culture maintenance is before it's too late.
Another quick video lesson from Success Strategy Training!
The goal of any training system worth its salt is to achieve change for improvement in their organization. What is the best way to achieve that?
Let's look at what we see in a lot of systems. Some training systems have very slim portfolios and rely on a lot of CBT (computer based training) courses, while others have very extensive portfolios and train on everything under the sun. They can remind you of a small college with the amount of training they put on. The thing is, the one with many courses can be just as, if not, more ineffective than the one with the few. Why?
The name of the game is strategic alignment. It's a must that any training offered is aligned with an organization's goals and objectives. Once the goals and objectives of an organization are understood, an accurate diagnosis can be made according to the needs of the desired populace. Once a proper diagnosis is made, training can be tailored and constructed to meet the stated objectives. Along the way, strategic placement of evaluation techniques can ensure the transfer of knowledge to the intended audience.
A tried and true method for measuring knowledge transfer is the Kirkpatrick Four-Level Evaluation model. Click to learn more... Kirkpatrick Evaluation Model.
Strategic alignment can be achieved by getting all effected stakeholders and senior managers on board with the direction of the company. When this is understood, only then can the curriculum for effective training geared to "move the needle" be constructed and evaluated.
Getting strategic alignment, plus proper diagnosis, along with the application of effective evaluation techniques, can result in the construction of a training system that can create true progression in any organization.
Dr. Stephen Covey once made reference to his awakening on a gray, melancholy, rainy day. He said that doing this could make us reason that we could be excused for feeling gray and melancholy ourselves. We can get into a mood and our whole day seems to go badly. He made reference to how we typically feel better when the weather outside is great. This point was tied to the ability to "carry our own weather" within us. “My own weather”, you ask?
Do you not agree that we tend to feel better when we’re treated better by the people around us? That is what he defined as being reactive to the “social weather” or culture. However, if we “carry our own weather”, we can choose to be consistent regardless of how we are treated by others. That statement is what Dr. Covey tied into the first of his 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. That habit is “Be Proactive”. Being reactive is the opposite action. It is the action of allowing others to dictate our weather or how we will feel from day to day. We should choose to take responsibility of our own lives and not be a “victim” of our moods or another person. Be proactive.
Dr. Covey made the statement, “Habit 1 is based on the principle that your life is the result of your own decisions, not your conditions, not what’s happening around you.” This is the foundation habit that must be practiced if we are to succeed at practicing the other six.
You see, it’s not what people do to us that hurts us, it’s our chosen response to what they do that hurts us. Dr. Covey referenced a quote from Mahatma Gandhi, “They cannot take away our self-respect, if we do not give it to them.” We have the ability to choose our responses.
When others give us stimulus, there is a space there where we select a response. When we are reactive, we allow that outside stimulus to control our response. When we are proactive, we pause to allow ourselves the freedom to choose our response based on our own principles and desired results. We, in effect, “carry our own weather”. We have the power and freedom to choose. We select our own weather each day. As leaders, this is an important ability to possess.
To make this effective, we need to remember that we are free to choose and are ultimately responsible for our own happiness. In leadership, possessing the ability to be consistent in behavior and response is very important. This engenders trust from those that are to follow us. Dr. Covey's advice is wonderful in this regard. So...what's your weather?
So...you really can learn something from TV and the movies! Check out these leadership mistakes from the Galactic Empire of Star Wars fame. This video, brought to you from Forbes, shows a list of things we don't want to do. It also gives key takeaways that tell what we should do and that will help us not to make the same critical errors in our organization. Also, I just really like Star Wars. Enjoy!
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell gives an excellent and entertaining testimony on what true leadership means and the selfless nature that exudes from great leaders. Listen, and think about how the qualities that he explains fit into your organization's plan for operational success. I'm sure you'll enjoy it!
Traditional training systems typically employ a "tell then do" type of application. This is usually displayed with a "see the problem, train on the problem" or "train well-in-advance" mentality, otherwise known as a "push" training system. "Push" is used to depict the way the knowledge is transferred. Knowledge is "pushed" out to the masses as the organization sees fit, regardless of whether/when you will use the info. It's like going to school in the traditional sense. Push systems have been the foundational system used in training organizations for decades. They were very successful in the past and still have some success today, however, in the age of instant gratification, "Google", and electronic access, things are changing. The workplace is seeing an influx of employees raised from childhood in the electronic age. This, therefore, has impacted the way successful learning organizations must train for success. The traditional "push" system may prove to be too slow, or provide information at an inopportune time for use. This could lead to learners "zoning-out" during sessions or forgetting the information before they have the chance to utilize it. This latest generation of workers is used to looking up info they need only when they need it. So how do we tackle that in an organization and continue to be successful in providing world-class training? The answer may lie in a "pull" system. This is a system that provides information needed in a modality that allows for "point of use" access. Think of this...the user is about to perform a task, and before they do, they access the video, document, online module, etc. that will teach the user what needs to be done. This puts delivery of training much closer to the actual performance of the task. Think of the times that you may have begun to perform a DIY project and you would "YouTube" the video that shows how to do it. The same principle applies in a "pull" system. This allows the user to "pull" the info as needed versus hoping they will remember it from a class or module they took weeks or months ago. There are many ways to establish an effective pull system and Success Strategy Training and Development would love the opportunity to discuss this methodology with you and help to incorporate this world-class system into your organization!
Keenan McBride, CPTM