Your Company is Dying!

“I’m so sorry to tell you this” said the doctor to the CEO, “but your company has very little time left.  One of your departments has been underperforming for so long that I’m not sure there is anything I can do.”

Imagine if you were the CEO of this company.  What is going through your head at this moment?  Maybe you are wondering which department is so ill.  Maybe you are wondering if a cure is possible.  And, maybe you now remember what your doctor has been telling you for years, and you know exactly what to do.

I’ve been that doctor on a personal crusade for the past few years trying to improve the organizational health of one company after another.  There are times when the loss of life in my practice has been more stress than I can stand, and so I had a chat with my own personal physician about how he copes with people that ignore an illness.

He told me that early on in med-school he was taught that patients will get sick.  That some patients will follow treatment and some will not.  That patients will die if they ignore the treatment and most will live if they follow the treatment.  His job is to encourage his patients to follow the treatment process. 

So if you are reading this blog today, I want you to evaluate quickly if your company is dying.  If it is I can point you to the most likely problem department.  Next week I will discuss why I single this department out and why if they are not performing well they become the internal virus that will eventually kill your company.

Stay Tuned…………….

Not Everything Is On The Job Training

I met with a Managing Director this week about how training is conducted for their 100+ employees, and he said at the moment they do on the job training.  I countered, “for everything?”  To which I got a very long “Yeahhhh?”

My point in the question was that when we only have a few people at a time to train, that on the job training is a very viable alternative to a traditional learning program.  If you don’t have enough people to put through a topic, then using well crafted checklists with learning objectives can make on the job training successful.

However,  where I was trying to lead this discussion was to determine how this service organization trained skills like Customer Service, Sales, Management Development, Productivity, Systems etc. since they are commonly used by a majority of the employee population.  The answer was typical of small and medium organizations, they were not even training the skills mentioned.

I think what is lost on most small to mid-sized organizations is that they cannot afford and even fathom how to train common skills for small groups, so they take it off the “to-do” list.  Reality is that it doesn’t matter how many employees you have, they still must be able to demonstrate the skills.  If you don’t train them, then they all land up doing things anyway they determine is appropriate.

Many companies will create individual career training plans that focus on a position and the skills needed to perform that function.  This is good, but I want to stress that employee development plans should also be overlapping.  All managers need the following skills, and everyone that interacts with clients need the following skills etc.

While this is fresh in your mind, write down the skills that are needed to function in your company, in other words the common skills.  Now go back over your list and circle the ones you train currently. 

  • Ask yourself if the remaining skills need to be consistent? 
  • Do you care if these skills are randomly used well? 
  • What would happen to our future if we continued to allow on the job training as the key developer of these skills?

The resulting answers should push you into the need to enhance your training plan.  And if you need help finding solutions that fit your budget, just let me know!

Whose Side Are You On?

I am now working on my 21st year in the learning development field.  I have been a trainer, instructional designer, performance consultant, training director and Chief Learning Officer.  I’ve spent the past 6 years as an independent consultant trying to heal our corporate training departments so they can demonstrate their value to their organizations.

I wrote The Training Physical as a guidebook for training departments and human resources to begin the evaluation process and call on me if they wanted an outside point of view.  I have found that the book has been read by more outside of training than the intended audience.

Last year I was told by a national training organization that I should be focused on topics that train the profession and not topics that strip away the secrets of what makes a training department effective.  This last week, a local chapter of this same organization asked me Whose Side Are You On?  They were implying that talking about diagnosing, treating and curing a training department was not something a real training professional would reveal.

To answer this question, I look to a growing list of training departments that over the past several years have ignored their purpose and are now closed.  I look at a growing list of colleagues that are no longer working in the training field, and companies that are hurting financially so they gave up on the learning function.

The answer is simple.  I am on your side.  If you are reading this blog, or have read my book, I am on your side.  My goal is to help you become so successful that your career in training is secure and your company is prosperous!