How to Leverage Training (Part 2): Our Initial Results
In my last post I discussed the concept of making training — rather the followup to training — something that the entire staff can take part in. If you missed it, you’ll benefit from getting the background with How to Leverage Training (Pt. 1) — How to Make it a Whole Team Activity. This sets the stage for what’s in this segment.
We’ll report on our progress incrementally
When I decided to write about our shared training experience I figured I would let it all play out, and then report on the outcome. That changed when I mentioned it to some people who said they had never seen this particular strategy implemented before and wanted to know how we were doing.
There really are several story lines that evolve during a program like this, and you rarely get all of the detail and context in a wrap up report, so we’ll roll it out as we go. There may be a few bumps along the way, but that’s part of the game.
Quite often it’s the simplest of things that matter
The event we attended was about leadership, and was heavily slanted toward creating or improving relationships. Your training may be about a better process to develop the ultimate widget. That’s fine, because this process works with any type of course or learning.
In our first session we rediscovered the importance of smiling when we talk. It’s so simple and means so much. Most people don’t do it or, worse, grin for an instant and then get back to their “business face” as soon as they can.
Try to walk around all day long, putting a consistent smile on your face as you talk with people. This is not just in the office or plant but with clients, the dry cleaner, grocery store, restaurant — everywhere. See if you don’t notice a difference in your tone, as well as a difference in how others respond to you.
A few of our team members had done it and one, Jordan, said that he was excited when he saw that his smile had affected others. It reinforced in him the importance of reflecting a positive and upbeat attitude.
The success of others is contagious
Just because we produce training workshops doesn’t mean that everybody on our staff is a walking, talking embodiment of every principle we promote. Some people are less comfortable than others in trying things, and we have the same challenges that our clients do.
We work with people to nudge them forward, but sometimes those breakthroughs take time.
I can give my training to our team until I’m hoarse and blue, and people will smile and nod — but no change is guaranteed. However, having Jordan discuss his success and enthusiasm could impress a coworker to give it a try INSTANTLY.
Though I try to give everybody as much room as possible and constant encouragement, I’m not seen as a peer. I’m a lot older than others on our staff and there is some feeling that it’s easier for me to conduct business because of my experience or years in the public eye. Jordan is seen as a peer so his experience is the same as theirs. Thus, in this instance, his input has much more impact.
What are you grateful for?
Our second session brought out the concept of gratitude. What are we grateful for? Each person at the table expressed their feelings and in some cases the list was long. People gave their thanks for a relationship with God, their family, good health, their job and coworkers, and numerous other things they thought were valuable to them. Just saying these things out loud was meaningful.
Nobody was fidgeting or otherwise distracted. Everyone’s attention was fixed on each person, as we went around the table.
While the discussion was indeed valuable we’re going to go a step farther. Each of us will write down what we’re grateful for and then we’re going to have the lists laminated. We’ll be able to remind ourselves on a daily basis, and I know there’s great value in that because we all have a tendency to forget in the rush to get things done and when we’re under pressure.
It’s easy to forget what’s good in our lives. This visual reminder should change that.
I’m also encouraging everyone to post their gratitude lists at their desk, where anybody can read it. Why? Because knowing each other on that level is important. If I know that you value some of the same things I do, then we have extra bonds between us. Understanding and compassion grow from that knowledge. This will help bolster relationships that are already good.
This is one of those intangible benefits that come out of a program like this. Often, those are worth more than any technical breakthrough or great idea that may be generated.
I think we’ll come up with a few of those ideas as we brainstorm in these sessions and I’m confident that it will have a positive effect on our productivity.
More than that, I can see that it already has drawn us a little bit closer. Whatever we lost that day by closing the office should be returned to us in multiples over time and, as stated, the reward will be in more ways than just money.
To be continued…
Comments? Observations? I’m anxious to read them.