Training Is a Waste of Time and Money!
In this week’s issue of “Lifelong Learners,” guest writer Mick Vaught takes a strong approach to employee development with his blog post entitled “Training Is a Waste of Time and Money!”
That is, unless it is applied correctly within the scope of the company’s core values. I said this before and I’ll say it again…. training should be used as one of the last disciplines in developing a competitive organization. Herb Kellerher, founder of Southwest Airlines, built his success by hiring “Attitude” first, followed by putting the right people in the right position, and lastly, training the heck out of them.
Here’s an example of how most employers misuse training in their dealer organization.
“A very successful dealer organization has seen a continuous decline in revenue over the past year. What’s the first thing upper management does? Bring in corporate sales product specialists to launch a “sales” (Selling Process) training event.”
- Opportunity number one: There is a huge disconnect between most manufacturers and their dealer organizations. When I was a product specialist with some of the top equipment manufactures in the U.S., all too often I would get a call from a frantic dealer sales manager requesting “Sales” training for his/her team. In reality, our understanding of “Sales” training and “Product” training did not align with each other. Yes, product knowledge was certainly vital and understanding the “Selling” process was equally important. However, I quickly realized the gap between an understanding of what the dealer wanted and what I delivered was not the same. As a corporate product specialist, I was not equipped with the knowledge nor expertise of the retail selling process.
- Opportunity number two: (and this is a big one) The root cause in the decline of revenue is typically misdiagnosed in the first place. Typically, the first area most dealers focus their attention towards is sales, when in reality the deficiency is caused by a communication/collaboration issue between both the dealer sales and product support teams. While sales are a critical component of the revenue stream, the backbone of just about any organization is their Service Department. Sales can sell that first machine to a new client, but from that moment on, future sales will depend on how well the customer will receive superior service! Some of the most effective training I have done was when we coordinated an overlapping session with both sales and service, bridging that communication and collaboration gap.
That brings me to the next point that must be addressed. Training is a waste of time if top management does not offer buy in. Checking off an item on the “To-Do” list just doesn’t cut it. If management thinks behavioral change can be accomplished in a one- or two-day session, they are totally not in touch with reality. A comprehensive perpetual training plan (to include follow-up, measuring, accountability and targeting the various levels of learning) must be executed if that organization will be successful.
Today more than ever, I see a tremendous deficiency in young people going out into our work force. Most problematic is their ability to communicate, collaborate, and the ability to solve real problems. One of the biggest reasons for this deficiency is our national public-school systems. Educators have morphed into paperwork administrators, dealing with a lack of student discipline, myopic support from administrators, and a lack of involvement with parent’s participation. This now leads us to take a totally new perspective on how we assimilate new hires.
- Opportunity number three: Initiate a new philosophy on how and when to apply effective training. I think Jim Collins hit the mark with his book titled “Good to Great”. Mr. Collins examined a number of good companies over a period of time and compared them to those companies that became not only good, but great! And what he found out was (important stuff here) the great companies:
- hired the right people (they fit the company culture)
- put them in the right position (set them up for success)
- training the heck out of them.
Notice, training was the last initiative in the process!
In conclusion, those organizations who hire the right people in the very beginning, place them in the right position and are willing to invest the time and capital in offering effective and continuing training platforms will ultimately achieve greatness!