Monday, January 18, 2010

Getting training out of the box, Part 3 --- Finally!

Okay, okay, so it wasn't the next day. But hey, it was New Year's Eve. And if you're like most of us here, that first week back after the winter holiday madness was, well, more madness!

But now we're a week into 2010 and it's time to get back on track. So where was I? Oh yes, your objections to opening the box on training.

Number 1

It costs too much.

This one had the most hands waving in the air, I'm sure. Budgets are tight. Got it. But how many people at your company are now expected to pick up the slack for those who have left -- or were let go?

When you eliminate a position or leave one vacant, you've not only cut costs, you've cut expertise and experience. Aside from the question of whether that saves you any money, there is the issue of keeping the business going.

So you need to, got to, have to, MUST train the remaining people so they can do their jobs AND the new job, too.

Hoping they'll "catch on" or figure it out is not a valid game plan. Too much risk for mistakes, and in today's sue-happy climate, that could cost BIG $$$$$.

And looking ahead, what happens when someone leaves unexpectedly, taking their expertise with them? People are still moving on, taking other jobs. Are your employees cross-trained well enough to pick up that now-vacant job, even for a short time if you do hire someone new?


Good training doesn't really cost that much. But you already knew that, didn't you. So on to the next excuse....

Number 2

It takes too much time away from work

Did I hear you right? Training people to do their jobs better, or to feel better about their jobs is a waste of time???

We live in a world where nearly half of all employees DO NOT LIKE THEIR JOBS. And we all know that people who are happy at work perform better, work harder, and make less mistakes.

And yet people are waving those hands in the air claiming that training is a waste of time? That means one of three things:

1) You have bad training, and no one should be going. So you need to fix what's broken rather than consider it a plus that you're forcing only a small number of your employees to suffer through miserable training.

2) Your training is not useful to your business. Sure, it might be fun. Or it might be your trainer's favorite topic. But if it isn't really useful to your business and your employees, it's time to replace it with something that does matter. And then invite more people to share in the wealth.

3) You are too focused on the short-term, at the expense of the long-term. Sure, maybe Sally in IT isn't a manager yet. But she wants to be. And she's a good employee. So let her go to the management training class. It will benefit the company in the long run, whether she moves into management, or just learns some new skills to apply to her current job. Or even gains a better understanding of what managers do. It's ALL good.

The Big Number 3

There's one more excuse, but this one is usually not accompanied by waving hands. It might be whispered. But usually it's not even spoken.

We are afraid that if "they" know too much, "they" will think they have a right to make choices. To think for themselves. Maybe...and this is the scariest part...shoot for OUR jobs. Gasp! I said it! I broke the code of silence!

It's nothing new. It's the reason so many cultures through-out history have clamped down on education. The more the masses know, the more dangerous they are. Or could be.

But as an excuse, even a silent one, for holding back on training in 2010, it stinks. If managers are so insecure in their skills, they need to get better at what they do, instead of acting as roadblocks to improving the skills of their teams.

Worst of all, if this is the real reason and it's coming down from the top, your organization is in a heap of trouble. And at that point, training is the least of your worries.

So which is it? And why are those gates still closed? Are there reasons I haven't covered? Let me know. Post your thoughts or drop me an e-mail at trainingtimeblog at

And while you're at it, I'd love to hear your thoughts for topics I should cover. (BTW, MLM, discount pharmaceuticals, or the latest gadget you're selling are NOT open topics, so skip those e-mails and comments please.)

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