About a month ago, I gave up my office and set up in the cubicles with the rest of my employees.
The biggest problem I see with trainers and educators? Simple. They talk too much! They feel a need to lecture -- to impart their knowledge on trainees. Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) aren’t much better in this regard. They often think that their “expertise” means they must have all the answers to students’ questions.
As a chief performance officer, my job is to transform my company’s human capital into financial capital. I need to get employees to act on what they hear and learn during company educational programs. We do some great work supporting employees, helping them build emotional and personal connections to the workplace. But even still, one of my great frustrations is that sometimes people respond, and sometimes they just don’t.
When I first started as an education director, our company’s only training program was really routine and systems-focused. Employees used to groan and roll their eyes when I talked about it. People thought workplace education was a requirement — a chore — and über-boring. And it was.
When I started at my position as chief performance officer at an e-marketing agency nine months ago, the company's products and services were good. Its business strategy was sound. But the quality of its people — their talent, passion, and (importantly) their way of thinking — was lacking.
I’ll admit it: When it comes to teaching, classroom programs are my favorite. Classroom education is more personal and more responsive — it allows the instructor’s personality and knowledge to interact with students’ specific needs. By gauging an assessing the impact of a lesson, the instructor is able to connect with students and guide them toward meaningful and successful results.
One of my former jobs was as a CFO for a struggling wholesale distribution business. The company had once had a great reputation and solid products, but by the time I got there, it badly needed a boost.
In spite of what your parents told you, you are not great at everything. Nobody is. But each of us is great at something. This is critical information. Because the more we know what our “thing” is — the more we know our unique abilities — the better we can identify our inner “expert.”
You've invested money and energy in building an education department, or at least in training materials. You've been open to hearing about what employees need to better do their jobs. Maybe you've even allowed time off for workers to sit in on webinars, or conferences. But despite it all, some employees just don’t seem to absorb your training message. Why?
I’m on the road a lot, so I tend to find myself in a lot of different Starbucks coffee shops. And while they all sort of look alike, someone like me can pretty easily spot the best shops where the baristas develop a relationship with and care for their customers, as opposed to the shops where everyone just seems to be going through the motions.