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Edition 293 – Afterthought

Training is not and should never be an afterthought. Yet experience and observation tells me it must be.

Time and again, I hear family business owners and managers complain about the inadequacies of their team. They can’t do this. They won’t do that. I’m the only one that can do what has to be done….the way I want it done. When I ask these owners and managers:

  1. What have you done to train your people in-house?
  2. What development path have you mapped out together with each staff member?

I get the strangest of looks. It’s like a child looking back at me saying “I didn’t eat the jelly beans” when I hold the empty jar up to them.

Development of your team is not something to be engaged in when an issue arises. It should never be a reactive activity, but a proactive one. Here’s some recent examples of how a lack of training has impacted family businesses:

  1. Business A – involving the incorrect harnessing of an employee working at height.  Not one, but two employees were involved in this action. Neither of them stopped to consider the potential injury or death of themselves or a member of the public. As it is, the client picked them up on it, stood them down and marched them off site. The client now faces uncertainty about performing that $500K pa contract in the future.
  2. Business B – has been bringing on new staff, showing them the ropes and then leaving the individual to their own devices, checking in on them sporadically. It’s only when a client made a serious complaint about poor workmanship that the owners stepped in to correct the situation. In my opinion, their frustration with their staff member was unfounded – they’d been set adrift in the open ocean without a GPS, a compass or regular radio contact.
  3. Business C – where the owner always has to be on site if there is a tricky issue as the staff are incapable of dealing with it themselves. What’s odd about this? The business thrives on solving “tricky issues” for their clients, so none of it is new. “Tricky” is their normal, but almost every staff member is unable to deal with it.

If this sounds like you and your business, stop complaining about staff that can’t do stuff AND for whom you don’t invest the time in developing them. There is a correlation there and most of it is nothing to do with them.

I’m continually developing, learning and investing in my growth. Part of it is a professional requirement. Part of it is out of pure interest and intrigue. I’m investing up to 3 times the amount of time that I’m required to do so, professionally, so I can stay ahead of the game, learn new things and create new ideas. Otherwise, I’m motoring in the fast lane holding up traffic.

This Week’s Tip

Professionals often have an annual CPD (Continuing Professional Development) requirement. Maybe we should adopt that as standard across all employees in all industries?