Be Fanatical About Training–Make It A Daily Thing

Effective leaders are teachers at heart. We know what the job is. We've defined the job expectations and hired our team. Now, it's time to train them to the job expectations, develop their skills, and lead them to a higher level of performance. Training is foundational to their success... and ours.

Being fanatical about training means that we are ensuring that training doesn't begin and end on an employee's first day on the job. Instead, training must be an ongoing and integral part of your organizational culture. Below are five opportunities for performance enrichment:

The Hiring Conversation. Have you ever had a new hire quit once they found out what was truly expected of them? It's a waste of everyone's time and resources. That's why it is so important to have a conversation with prospective new hires before you offer them the position. The conversation should cover the candidate's specific job duties as clearly as possible, one by one. For example, I have specifically told prospective new hires that they will not be allowed to say the phrase "How can I help you?" in front of guests. By clearly summarizing a position's duties and performance expectations, you've left the potential new hire with a clear picture of what to expect.

Classroom Training. There's a time and a place for traditional classroom training. In moderation, traditional classroom training can be an effective way of launching new programs, teaching new skills, and achieving team buy-in on a process. However, it's important to know your limits. Too much formal training can be overwhelming and ineffective. The best classroom training includes interaction between instructor and trainees where the instructor engages everyone in the discussion. They do this by asking questions, sharing real-life experiences, and through participatory activities. People learn best when they hear, see, and do.

On the Job Training. Once new hires are equipped with an understanding of what's expected of them in their role, formal classroom training concludes and on the job training begins. This next step in the training journey means "getting out there and actually doing it." The best O-J-T is led by a trainer who possesses both a high degree of knowledge in the role and the soft skills necessary to recognize and redirect poor performance. Through continued repetition of processes and behaviors, the trainee gains confidence and become proficient with regular performance of their role.

Spot Talks. One of the most effective yet underutilized ways of engaging your team are spot talks.  These brief conversations occur during the preshift meetings. Spot talks are led by an experienced individual, a seasoned lead, supervisor, or manager, as a way of addressing a particular topic or area of focus. Spot talks are appropriate for everyone on the team--regardless of their experience level. Such information can be helpful in refreshing an important concept with seasoned team members and reemphasizing what was covered during training with your new hires.

One on One Meetings. These are great opportunities to initiate a focused conversation with individual members of your sales team. You can use these sessions to share their progress, identify opportunities, and plan for their further development. Regardless of the depth of your leadership team, everyone who is up-line from someone else should be holding a one on one development meeting with them at regular intervals.

Have a great week!

"Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, and working together is success." 
-- Henry Ford