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Best Training Practices
Will Kenny
3927 York Ave N
Robbinsdale, MN 55422

Maintain, Or Fix?

can you avoid the "fix it" cycle?

(reprinted from The Training Tipsheet)

If you have been in the training business a good while, there's a familiar cycle I am sure you will quickly recognize.

First, there's a burst of training around some goal of the organization, whether it is new procedures, safety, ethics and respectful workplace issues, new products, customer service standards, or some other set of practices that contribute to the company's success. Everyone agrees that getting employees to do things the right way is important and will make a difference, and an investment of time and money is made in a series of training activities.

Then, often a few years later, things seem to be getting a little sloppy. Employees are taking shortcuts, or are doing the same thing in very different ways in different locations. Standards are being "worked around" more and more often, and inconsistent service, or productivity, or safety, or management effectiveness is becoming evident.

So, finally, comes a cycle of "fix it" training, the remedial stuff designed to restore standards, to refresh best practices, to return employees to a consistent set of practices -- whether at the front lines or in the executive suite -- that will also return the company to the results it was getting after that first round of training.

You have probably been through this again and again. Isn't it time to work with your internal clients to fix the "fix it" cycle?

I know, when you are negotiating the original training activities, your clients don't want to hear about "refresher" or "booster" training down the road. They can't help but think of training as an event, something that you do, and then don't have to worry about.

Now, every one of your clients understands that it is much better to take a car in for routine oil changes than it is to leave it until the engine is damaged, requiring a costly overhaul. Similarly, the "fix it" training is almost always more effort and cost than a similar -- and earlier -- maintenance training activity would be. And that's without even considering the lost opportunity and poor performance in the interim.

But you can hardly expect your clients to suggest maintenance activities. They are focused on costs, and, especially, on minimizing employee time away from their usual jobs. And they may not have been through this cycle yet, while you have experienced it again and again, with department after department.

You're the training professional. Make it your job to raise the maintenance issue, and to include a clear proposal for maintenance as part of the original project. You may not win the day every time, but unless you raise the issue, and advocate maintenance with some passion, your clients will rarely get the full benefit of your training services.

© 2013 Best Training Practices -- Will Kenny

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