Best Training Practices
3927 York Ave N
Robbinsdale, MN 55422
Starbucks, Nike, and the
Race for Results
first in a series: increasing your sustainable capacity to deliver
(reprinted from The Training Tipsheet)
At a recent visit to the coffee shop, I picked up a kind of bookmark promoting the "Nike+ Human Race", a 10K run occurring more or less simultaneously around the world at the end of August, promoted by Nike and Starbucks. The back of the bookmark gave ten tips on how to train to run 10K.
As I looked at those tips, I noticed that many of them need very little adaptation to apply to the challenge of creating and delivering effective training for your company. Over the coming weeks, I'll recast several of these tips to apply to corporate training and employee communication, rather than physically running a race.
The first point is that these tips would be particularly helpful for someone who is not a regular marathon runner. And when it comes to helpful training ideas, the "professional amateurs," if you will, are the largest and most important audience.
In other words, most training in most organizations is not developed or delivered by people who were educated and trained, themselves, to communicate best practices to employees. What happens more often is that someone who is good at some part of his or her job ends up with responsibility for making others good at that, too. Or people who seem to contribute a lot to a team, or to write well, or to give good presentations, suddenly find that training responsibilities have become a significant part of their jobs, whether or not it is written into the formal job description.
Especially for that audience, a second interesting aspect of the Nike tips is that they don't say anything about winning the race. The list of tips isn't intended to turn you into a champion, it is intended to move you forward. If you don't run now, they'll help you finish the race. If you do, they may help you to finish it faster, or healthier.
Another way of saying this is that the tips they give promote a sustainable increase in capacity to deliver (running ability, in this case).
Sometimes, in corporate life, a major change looms on the horizon, or something suddenly shifts in the business environment that provokes a vigorous, even crisis, response from management. All at once the need to create a major training event or tool dominates your training vision.
That can be the equivalent of going from a couch potato to jumping out and jogging several miles your first couple of days. The result is that you are too sore and tired to continue training, and you don't even enter the race.
In essence, this sheet of training tips for the race implies a vision: getting more active, training gradually, and having clear and realistic goals. Knowing the bigger picture for your organization's business needs, and knowing where you are now, in helping lead employees to adopting and maintaining best practices, is crucial to your long term success.
Without that vision, you'll lurch from one immediate (perceived) need to the next. You'll make a lot of squeaky wheels happy, and you'll pull off some heroic efforts. But your contribution to the company, over the long term, can't help but be less than you want, and less than the organization needs, if you don't have a realistic perspective of where you are coming from, and where is the next place you want to get to.
© 2008 Best Training Practices -- Will Kenny
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