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

You Need More
Thoughtless Employees!

knee-jerk reactions tell you whether your training is making a difference

(reprinted from The Training Tipsheet)

We typically use the word "thoughtless" when we are annoyed. We have probably had poor, or rude, service from someone, or been inconvenienced by a friend, colleague, or family member who "didn't stop to think" about how his or her actions would affect us.

But we have high praise for people who react correctly in emergency situations. "Without thinking, the pilot automatically . . . and saved everyone on board!" Coaches of professional sports teams rely heavily on drill to train their players to make the right move, to execute the best decision, automatically, without having to think about it.

How do your employees fare when they react thoughtlessly? Whatever the reason for them not having the time -- or inclination, although that may be a matter for concern -- to think things through, when they react "automatically" to a request from a customer, or another employee, when they give their "knee-jerk" response to a supplier, supervisor, or regulator, that's when you find out what kind of culture your organization has developed. In those instant, automatic responses you see the true expression of all your communication efforts, all the training you have put into spreading and supporting best practices.

In most companies, if you asked about the purpose of training and communication, one of the goals would be to get employees to stop and think about what they are doing, and then do the right thing. And, of course, in many situations that's a very reasonable goal.

But your best practices program, and your culture of service and productivity, may get a big boost if you explicitly adopt the goal of producing more thoughtless employees!

Anyone can come up with the right response, given enough time and resources. But when the speed of business and the pressures of competition demand immediate 'gut' responses from staff, the workforce that has been so effectively trained that they have internalized the company's standards, procedures, values and goals is the one that is going to produce more, sell more, and retain customers longer.

It isn't simply a question of quantity (although few companies invest as much in employee communication and training as they should). It's a question of designing those communications so the results transfer to the real world, and supporting training with procedures and tools that make it easier to get to the right answer without thinking about it.

Embrace thoughtlessness! Your best manager, your best sales representative, your best whatever seem to do the right thing without thinking about it, again and again. With that as an explicit objective of your training, you'll soon find more and more thoughtless employees contributing to your success.

© 2007 Best Training Practices -- Will Kenny

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