Strategy is a meeting of minds, a summary of ideas, a definition of terms, setting direction and a plan of action.
Friday, March 30, 2012
Leaders & Knowledge
Leaders should have knowledge because they have authority. Otherwise, they will frustrate those with great knowledge and little authority. They are also likely to offend those with little knowledge and no authority, as they see no difference between the leader and themselves.
Thursday, March 29, 2012
CUSTOMER SERVICE OR CUSTOMER COVER UP
One construction company does roaring business rebranding dilapidated company offices. They pledge to give the company a new look and a new beginning. They believe that such a makeover will attract new customers for the business. Indeed it does. However, what this company does is not reconstruction. They measure wall space and obtain an equivalent amount of brightly colored paint to give the building a new coat of paint. This usually excites their shortsighted clients who pay millions for the single coat paint job that lasts about six months.
I have recently been asked, by a client, to cover up their business incompetence by conducting a course on customer service for staff. Try as I might I could not convince the customer that customer service is not a "cover up" operation. I tried to explain that it is an outward expression of an inward commitment by a business to provide quality services. This means that a client needs to attend to all the organization, management and service delivery bottlenecks before crowning this exercise with training staff to maintain customer confidence. I lost the job. A painful experience for anyone who wouldn't mind a little extra cash. But a gainful one for you because you will not fall for the tricks of the said construction company.
TEACHING NEEDS TO CHANGE
The more I teach, the more I feel students have changed. Students no longer respond very well to the demands of a fixed curriculum. I find that I am no longer teaching "local" students. Rather, I find myself working with global learners. There are good reasons for this.
The goal of a student ten years ago was to be local professional. Today, learners are more interested in global opportunity. The level of learner (self) awareness today is much higher than it was ten years ago. Many students already know what they are taught in the first eight years of school from the TV, internet, news media and politics. This may be the reason for the high level of boredom and poor behavior in some of our schools.
In the old days, a certificate supplied a job. Today, only character secures a career. In the old days, we were punished for poor grades. Today the only viable reprimand is for poor character. However, no single curriculum is able to meet the needs of the new global reality. In our school, we combine several curricula and learning content to meet the needs of global learners.
Teaching needs to evolve from schooling in a curriculum to learner development programs. This will make sure that teaching remains flexible enough to prepare learners for global life. I suggest that the school, and not curriculum, should be the centre of education. And that teachers should be free to select aspects from a range of (relevant) curricula to prepare learners for global life. Teachers in every school, should not prepare pupils to pass exams, but should be given the power to train world-class citizens.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
SEVEN STEPS TO REALIZE YOUR FULL POTENTIAL
It does not matter whether you are six or sixty. You can realize your full potential and achieve that which will satisfy you and make your life fulfilled. Learning the rules and ropes of how to make your potential real will empower you to be all you can be and inspire to do more than what you are doing right now.
The first principle is Choice. Many of us do not choose to succeed. We go to work because others go to work. We go to school because others go to school. We go to church because our mothers tell us that it is good to go. We do most things for others. The magic happens when we choose to do something for ourselves. Suddenly it does not matter if anybody else is doing it. Doing what I want to do empowers me more than anyone can motivate me. Choice draws out the deep reserves of power in you that you don't know exist. Consider the energy and focus and that is released when anyone makes a choice (or decides) to do something.
Second, you must have vision. You may have it but maybe you have never used it. Sight is the ability to see things around you that need doing and then doing them. Does your desk or bedroom need to be tidied up? Many people walk into a dirty house or office every day and do not see the need to do anything about it. How many years have you been going through life without seeing the need to improve yourself? You may not own a home today, but if you see the need for it in the future, you will begin to build one now, long before you retire in public interest. That is vision. Vision gives you the power to walk out of your comfort and create your future.
Third is Potential. None of us knows how much we have. That is not the problem. The problem we have is that we do not use it. You will never know what you can do until you try to do something new. You will never know how far you can run until you start running. Many of us strike ourselves out before the ball is thrown. We lose the race before we enter it to race. We lose the match before the game is played because we don't know if we can make it. Our responsibility is not how much potential we have, but to use the potential we have. You will never access your potential until you put it to the test. To realize you potential, you must try. Using your potential releases power to achieve goals.
Fourth; Goals. I don't need to say much about goals because I know you know that you cannot claim to achieve anything without having set them. You also know that, "you always achieve your goals even if you have none". Setting goals directs the energy you have to achieve them. Set goals for life.
Fifth; set up a project to absorb your potential. If you want to own a house. Make it a project. Projects break activity into phases that use your energy in stages. When each stage is complete, you gain energy for the next phase. You cannot build a house in one day. But if you work out what you need to do, you can do it in phases. You cannot win a marathon by making a decision today, but if you make it a project, you will train daily, progress monthly and run the marathon successfully in a years' time. Break it down lest you get discouraged. Eating a cake whole will choke you, do it in bites.
Sixth; work. Work is a principle of life and the key to all success. Whatever you "win" without work is at best lottery or at worst, stolen. Work requires you to apply yourself and change the state of yourself and the things around you by your (own) effort and initiative. By applying your potential things change in the direction you want them to change. However, work is a discipline that must be mastered to realize your full potential.
The final element is the principle of potential itself. Your potential is named "potential" because we know it is there, but we don't know how much or what it is. Another thing you need to know about your potential is that; the more you use it, the more of it you discover. It is as if you create it as you use it. Never have any fear that it will ever get used up or finished. People who achieve outstanding success often make statements like, "I never knew I could do this". You may have said similar words yourself that is your potential speaking. Even you don't know what you are capable of. It is your job to use your potential, discover it and explore its limits. The only limit to your potential is what you set your mind to do.
DON'T SACK YOURSELF
Sacking yourself is not as hard as it sounds. It is easier done than thought. Up to 80% of the people who are sacked, fired or let go, save for a changed job role, do it to themselves. They don't do it willingly; they just do not know they are doing it. Having said that I have to explain myself.
I am always amazed at the passion new staff have for the job. This show usually lasts as long as the probation. Once the hiring process is complete, work settles into the routine mode. So long as one gets paid, the job gets done. Then suddenly, the challenge is gone. When the familiar trip begins, it signals that the end is near. The familiar trip can last as long as the search for another job, or as short as the bosses work fuse. It is a tug of war between the two.
Staff do not think that the boss knows about job cycles. But as surely as a farmer knows when it is about to rain, the boss can tell how long who will last. When things become familiar, people give little signs that they want to leave. They drop the ball, come in late and argue for ways to reduce their workload. They do one days' work in two, three or four days. They think the boss has no idea of what they want to do. In the long run, it does nobody any good. So the boss gives in, takes the cue, and sacks you. The boss knows that he will look bad to you, but so do you.
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Monday, March 26, 2012
LEADERSHIP IS WAR
Early this morning I met with a group of staff, in a business, to talk about "what is leadership" and "the role of employees in leadership". By the end of the session, it was quite clear that leadership is war. And that staff have a very clear role to play in winning that war.
When people talk of leadership they use terms such as planning, strategy, logistics and goals freely. These are army terms. Though most people will agree that leadership has military roots; few think of leadership as a campaign, or war.
When you declare war on something, you call for leadership to fight that war. If you declare war on poverty, disease or terror, you call for leadership to defeat these things. When you call for leadership, you call for initiative to overcome a foe. Leadership is the ability to fight and win. It is the skill you use to attack and defeat the enemy.
People call for leadership to win liberty, to advance their position or solve a problem. Leaders mobilize leadership to bring these things about. But there is a difference between a "leader" and "leadership". In the famous story of "David and Goliath", we are told that the King (the leader) sent his army into battle to fight a fearsome foe. The army would not fight for fear of the enemy's prize fighter named Goliath. However, David (a civilian)took leadership and won victory for the army by fighting and defeating Goliath. The King may have been the leader, but it was David that took leadership to gain the victory for his people.
Your role is to fight for victory in your job to achieve the goals the business has set. This takes courage, commitment and initiative on your part. You also need to develop skills to get these tasks done. As a member of an army, you need to realize that there is a war going on. The outcome of that war will be a win or a loss. In war, you are either a leader, a follower (soldier) or the enemy. The idea is to eliminate the enemy and advance to victory. Leaders may give direction, but it is the followers who fight. Therefore, know the ultimate purpose of the war. Determine your goals very clearly. Clarify your role. Be courageous. Take initiative. Engage the enemy and fight with all your might!
Sunday, March 25, 2012
Saturday, March 24, 2012
HOW TO BE A CEO
Learning to be a CEO is not an easy task. However, I give credit to two CEOs who taught me two ways to go about it. The western approach emphasizes strategy, marketing and targets. The eastern approach is one of cleaning machines. Both appeared to be concerned with people, but I noticed that cleaning machines got better results.
When I joined the car tire factory, the CEO called us in for a "black tie" meeting. "Black tie" was another word for "senior management". He gave us a talking to, and a dressing down that indicated that if things did not change soon, we would all be fired and better managers hired. This was long before trumps program was aired on TV. He had hired me as one of his new managers to show how serious he was. Six months later, nothing had changed. The marketers had marketed. The producers had produced, and the sellers had sold. Nevertheless, the revenue took a slight dip.
The directors sent the first CEO packing and brought in a new CEO. We all survived, but silently wondered for how long. The second CEO held one meeting with us, the top brass. He asked us two questions and issued one directive; "What is our business?", "Making tires" we answered. "Where are tires made?", "in the factory" we said. "From today, we will all take turns to clean the factory machines every day". We, the black ties, left the room stunned. Some of us had never been to the factory floor before. The CEO led the way by cleaning the machines several times a week. All this cleaning made us feel meek, but we did get to meet a lot of new people on the floor. Within six months, production tripled, sales tripled and revenues rose exponentially.
The first CEO sounded in control. But what we didn't know then, was that his job was on the line. I never got to know the second CEO by name, because the first time I met him was the last time I talked to him and I left the company before I could master his unusual name. All I have is a picture that reminds me that the easiest way to improve performance is to clean machines.
Friday, March 23, 2012
Think of the number of times your mistakes have led (later) to the benefit of yourself or another. And you will see that a mistake is just a painful or costly alternative course of action that does not have to be a permanent condition.
Thursday, March 22, 2012
A SOLDIERS SOLDIER
Built by bullets in the battlefield and drilled in the mind with military precision. Powell stands as a role model of loyalty, dedication and professional discipline. His rise to the top of the American fighting machine was more a mark of confidence from his peers than a mark in favor of the times. Serving five governments in senior positions meant that he had to keep off politics to inspire trust in his leadership. Politics is not leadership and leadership is not politics. His unique diplomatic exposure allowed him to develop a worldview rather than a local view of global issues. His learned philosophy of disengaging ones ego from a position is one every aspiring leader should note. Powell's leadership is more the stature he built than the wars he won. Collin reveals the detailed mind of a leader on a journey seeking to serve his people. His physical picture of unassuming power and control inspired security for those he was over all. And foreboding to those who would step out of control. One does not need to despise academics, but without character in leadership, no achievement is worth it. Leadership can be a career.
MY PERSONAL STRUGGLES
My personal struggles are very different from yours. You will not find the answers to yours here. However, struggles are things we can all identify with. They are what others think of us and what we think make us. That is what makes them struggles. Sometimes we become them and, at other times, they become us. When I think of the many struggles about me, just three will do. May be you can help me. I really want to be good at what I do. And I wish someone would show me how to make more money. Then, maybe too, you could please explain to me who I am.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
WHY THE eBOOK WILL WIN
The eBook does not have much of a following in many parts of the world. But the secret of success of the eBook does not lie in its following, it lies in its power to reach more people. Most readers still believe in the "printed" word" rather than the "written" word. That gives publishers, who have the power to print the word, the industry kings. The main cost of the printed word is the printing and distribution process. This bulk cost is passed on to the reader by the publisher. The ink, that makes up the text, is just a fraction of the cost of the book. The publisher also decides what the reader will read. And if a book is out of print it is out of print.
When readers realize that the "written" word costs less and is easier to access than the "printed" word, the revolution will be complete. The success of the eBook will not be because it is cheap nobody boasts about cheap things. It will be because the eBook eliminates all other costs to the reader save the "text". Readers will only have to pay the writer for writing the text (eBook). The eBook shifts the balance of power from the "printer" to the "writer". The writer's income is only a small fraction of a publisher's expenses.
The implications of this last paragraph are huge. Publishers know these facts, but it's the readers that need to realize it. Writers who have been submerged because their works were judged unprofitable will emerge. Books that were unprintable will soon be freely available. New levels of creativity will be required to remain profitable in the new industry. Established writers will compete, on equal footing, with self-published artists. Quality standards will change from book packaging to content and from content to thought.
There are real fears surrounding the eBook. I gave up printing one of my books because one excited reader confessed to me that they had really enjoyed a photocopy of my book. The fellow had also photocopied the book for the rest of the class. Everyone was doing it. The eBook provides massive opportunity to violate copyrights and intellectual property. If enforcing copyrights on hardcopy is nearly impossible, how will copying "softcopy" be contained. Strange as it may seem the answer to these violations may lie in "deregulation".
Much as self-publishing is a welcome idea, it does not guarantee readership. It promotes expression, but it does not imply consumption. I think good writers have nothing to fear. While good readers have more opportunity to read good writers, poor writers will get more poor readers. With all its challenges the eBook has the capacity to exponentially multiply readership far beyond the reach of the hardcopy. Multiplied publication, multiplied print, multiplied titles, multiplied availability, multiplied distribution, and multiplied readers.
I like the fact that the eBook restores power and income to writers. And I am as concerned, as is anybody, that the eBook brings with it real industry challenges. But I am aware that it is a new industry. It is no longer the "publishing" industry; it is now the "word" industry. By the way, though the eBook will win, it will not eliminate the hardcopy immediately. Cell phone text messages have not eradicated letters or parcel post; some would like to add, yet! However, the moral of this story is that, "books may pass away, but words will remain forever".
Allan Bukusi, 2012
PETER F DRUCKER
A man I met in the 70's. By then he was already an effective executive. He may have led in a few boardrooms and classrooms, but more specifically, he led managers. Managers are not always leaders, but managers are always in leadership. Perhaps his biggest contribution was to lead virtual teams in search of paradigms to manage the future. His godlike talent to translate trends into techniques changed the world of business several times over. His influence on business minds is still being measured. The fact that he thought to put his ideas on paper is his gift to the world and will make him relevant for many years to come. The fact that he evolved in time from "planning is in" to "planning is out" indicates a remarkable leader willing to question his own beliefs. And change them if it will help the people achieve a noble goal. Leaders think and change in order to lead change and the way people think.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
WHAT MOTIVATES YOU?
"What motivates you?" is probably the most frequently asked question by family, friends, coaches, teachers and employers. The answer to this question is the key to love, joy, hope, peace, purpose, careers and a lifetime of opportunity. The answer to this question is the key to your soul and opens the floodgates to a purposeful life. Yes, your answer to this question is more important than the question "who are you?" or "what is your name" because it answers all three.
What motivates you is unique to you, like the way they walk. It is more specific than your fingerprint that can identify you but not define you. It is more important than your picture, because your picture does not tell us much about you. What motivates you tells us everything about you, and tells you who you are.
Your gift is the value that other people to enjoy about you and want from you. Your abilities enable you to work and earn a living. Your interests will drive you, even we they don't pay you. Your interests wake you up in the morning and never let you sleep at night. Your talent makes life easy for you, because you do it without breaking a sweat. These things will motivate you, because they satisfy you, because they are you. You will never find out who you are until you find out what motivates you.
PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Monday, March 19, 2012
It took 150 years to get her into office in a land called freedom. From that point of view, leadership does take stamina. She led from the beginning to the end. She led from the inside and out, from within and without. Away from home and at home, she was always a leader. Perhaps a born leader. Leadership is more than a testimony; it is a testament. To be president may not be as significant as what you want to achieve as president, because you may not get time to do it. But leadership is important because it breaks the known mould and recasts the future. Her most significant run may be the fact that she has pushed further open the door of possibility to half the population of the world to aspire to top office. Greatness is in patience and persistence to realize the goal for those who depend on you to win. Leaders have many struggles within, but in the end, a leader is not their own, but what the people own.
MARTIN LUTHER KING Jnr
One would think that a third generation preacher would turn out to be no more than a third rate teacher. That he turned out to be a global leader is something to think about. That he brought (arguably) the most powerful nation on earth to re-examine itself, when it did not need to, is worth reading about. That he hoped to change a nation that had not moved forward in 100 years would make him a dreamer. He did not preach violence, but he did teach not to take offense. No, he did not preach sacrifice, but he certainly did not teach cowardice. Who would have thought that civil disobedience could lead to the legislation of justice, or that moral courage is greater than an armored carriage. He learned passive resistance from another teacher and used it like a preacher. His style of leadership was to talk to whom you call the enemy and find out if both of you have anything to fear. It is not enough to heed the call; a leader must stay the course until everyone is free at last.
Sunday, March 18, 2012
The amazing story of Jesus the Christ is believable only by the corroboration of recorded history. His documented leadership is of only 12 men. That such a small story could survive, in such detail, for so long after his death, is a remarkable feat that tells us more about the leader than what is written of him. He attracted attention through extraordinary deeds that the people attributed to God. His chosen instrument of leadership was sacrifice and his philosophy, love. Ungainly as these qualities may seem, his influence continues to spread long after his public burial. Ironically, he promised his followers life. It did not matter that he led in obscurity, had no office or had no home. Jesus leadership was based on virtue. Influencing a few or influencing many does not measure your success as a leader. However, the success of your followers does indicate the greatness of your leadership.
Saturday, March 17, 2012
Ghandi is a person who excels in a second life. He begins where most of us begin, in the shadows of another and lives half his life in pursuit of things that occupy most of us until death. By the time he came into his own, he had lived in three continents. I think his perspective of life was shaped by his experience and by a deep religious discipline that he was not born with. He tempted fate to kill him many times, but it was a religious bullet that set free what the British Empire could not contain. The power of the human spirit mobilized 200 million people and galvanized the world to pay attention to the detail of "birthright". It is impractical to think that a half-starved man could change the world, or that it is possible to use the power of the human spirit to free people from generations of oppression. But that is just what happened when Ghandi was done. In each one and everyone is the power to change the world If I be the change I want to see.
Allan Bukusi, 2012
THE PERFECT EMPLOYEE
I once worked with a perfect employee. He came to me with nothing more than an ID (or social security number). He was referred to us by his uncle who works with my wife. His uncle needed to do his sister a favor. The young man really wasn't much to look at, he was small and underfed. I hired him as a farmhand to "hold things" and make sure "nothing gets lost". He was a normal employee and soon began to damage things that are generally "undamageable". The hoe would break, and walls would crack when he passed by.
After a while he started to "want" do things. This was a dangerous sign. But he went ahead and asked me for permission to do those things. He wanted to build things and make things at my expense. He made some of the most terrible pieces of stonework you could imagine. He used my cement and bricks to build a water tank that looked like a large, rusted, open cement vase. Amazingly, this guy was not ashamed to show me what he had done. I didn't have the heart to tell him that some of his early works were like a child playing with clay in kindergarten, and that they cost me several hundred dollars for each experiment.
Now this guy had that rare thing in employees called determination. It is one of those things generally driven by a disadvantaged background and deep personal aspiration. His view of life was quite different from mine. What I considered pathetic, he considered privilege. What I thought was a job, he understood to be opportunity. This was the beginning. I will fast forward to get to the heart of the story that made this guy special.
This guy could not be put down. He saw opportunities for what needed to be done and gave me the job of supplying what he needed to do them. Brian began to learn and learn he did. He learned from the builders how to build. He learned from me, how to manage money and leaned to drive from me, in my car! He learned from the church how to sing. He learned from other people how to do other things. Other people began to hire him. At some point I am not sure he worked for me. Everyone in the community owned him. There was no job too odd, small, or big for this small town boy. Brian would fix it. Even though he still worked for me.
What I did not know was that this "small town boy" had become a celebrity in his village. He had built himself a house with his pay and took care of his siblings and widowed mother. He was also steadily winning the hearts of all the young ladies in the neighborhood by his work. Brian never asked for any "thing". All he needed was a chance.
Brian died on the job. Loyal to the end. But when I think about him, I don't think he worked for me. He worked for himself. He worked for everybody. All he needed was a chance to be. He came to me with no schooling, but by the time he died, I was thinking of getting him an education and making him my personal assistant. That is some career distance for a small town boy with just an ID.
When I think of the perfect employee, I don't think I want someone who works for me. I would rather have someone who works for himself. To be sure the beginning does not tell you much; it's the process that reveals the person, from there you can easily tell what the end will be. The perfect employee is not in a degree, but in the character and integrity to be. There is more to an employee than skills and knowledge, the perfect employee is someone I would like to be.
Allan Bukusi, 2012
Friday, March 16, 2012
Allan Bukusi, A Writing Profile
Allan writes from the heart. He draws inspiration from his family, corporate experience and a goal to empower employees to honor God, create wealth and realize their full potential. As an entrepreneur, he runs several businesses, conducts training for corporate organizations, provides human resources and management consultancy services and gives motivational talks to employees, professionals and student audiences. He talks realistically about life and uses humor to inspire listeners to think about their (personal) circumstances and better themselves in life. His writing and talks have earned him credibility as an author and recognition as seminar speaker around the country.
Allan believes in correcting failure and is not afraid to improve his scripts. He believes that success is measured by how much other people benefit from you. In this regard, he may be considered a generous writer. While most people would bask in the praise of admirers, Allan is keen to listen to his critics. Getting published in Africa is no easy task and nearly no writer makes a living off writing. Most of the money in the writing industry goes to publishers, printers, distributors and bookshops. However, Allan urges all writers to share the wisdom they can afford, even if it means publishing their own work. One day, he believes, the sacrifices made by writers will be handsomely rewarded.
Not every one of Allan's audiences knows that he has written other books on leadership and personal development topics before and after How to Prosper in Employment. They are often surprised to learn that he has more than seven other titles to his name. This discovery makes readers and listeners wonder why he does not seem to have an active publicity strategy, though he has been writing for close to 20 years. At the moment, he says, he will reach out and touch as many lives as read his writing on leadership and life around the world.
Researched by Winnie Miriti, 2012
Thursday, March 15, 2012
QUALITY CUSTOMER SERVICE
Quality is the extent to which the customer appreciates a product or service. Quality involves supplying customers with what they want, to the standards they want, and at a price they are willing to pay. In the face of competition, organizations find they have to give something extra to win customers. However, quality is not found in a fixed set of product features for added services, but (also) in relationships with customers. In other words, business must think about the quality of service that they are "offered" to their clients.
Customer-driven organizations develop processes to listen to customers. They develop structures that enable them to build a relationship with their customers so that they are able to keep track of changing customer tastes. "Praise" and "problems" brought to the attention of management by customers are looked into and action taken to ensure that the clients don't take their business elsewhere.
Organizations are formed by a group of people pooling their resources and skills for the purpose of achieving given objectives efficiently and effectively. It is therefore important that coordination and understanding of how each individual affects the other and how everyone eventually this affects the customer is appreciated throughout the whole business. Quality in the eyes of the customer is much more than the technical quality of the product; it must entail the relational quality of the service as well.
GET THE MOST OUT OF TRAINING: TRAIN FOR LIFE
Good question! Why spend time and effort and sometimes money when it could be shunted into other areas of "better" value? We need to justify the investment in time and energy required of the trainee, the trainer and organization as a whole.
Training is an investment in an individual that should yield productive results in the near term for the individual, the business unit, immediate associates and wider social contacts. Training on skills such as "time management" can have far reaching results in organizing the environment of the person applying himself to practice the acquired skills.
Training adds value to the individual through enhancing; competence, ability, appreciation, knowledge, skills, attitude, wisdom, exposure, experience, life perspectives, capacity, latent potential as well as the ability to perform better at work. Training makes staff more valuable and "indispensable" to employers. An individual taking training or a course of study enhances their market value. Employers place a higher value on the trained and competent employees.
Other reasons to train stem from an organizations recognized internal need of skills to overcome performance and production barriers in areas such as communication, management styles, work procedures, accounting, customer care, business culture etc.
However satisfactory or unsatisfactory the reasons for training may seem, training is primarily an INDIVIDUAL benefit. The capacity developed during training is an individual asset. No one can take it away from you. And no one else can make it work!
Why do businesses look for trained personnel to? Why not just pick one of those many primary secondary and college graduates flocking after jobs? The truth is that employment skills are very different from academic training. Much academic training has little work skill content. Even college graduates need to develop work skills. Employers of every kind in providing opportunity for employment are in the same act committing themselves to train and develop staff for themselves and for organizations that may employ them later. Trained staff contribute far greater worth to the organization over a shorter period of time than untrained personnel.
The training environment at work is created by; specific procedures, interpersonal contacts, communication modes, unique production methods, organization, structure and industry standards. Staff are expected to learn and master a host of different systems and utilize them to make a useful contribution to the business. In this way, they justify their employment. Employment skills are about technical competence, interpersonal skills, decision-making and information processing. Training is an effective tool to ensure organization systems are utilized efficiently and effectively.
Attitudes have a special place in all training. Training undertaken with a negative attitude invariably has negative results. Attitudes exhibited during training reflect on the outcome of training efforts. What should the attitude towards training be? Training should be approached from an open standpoint where, "there are other ways of doing things improvement is possible there are things even I do not know! I could learn something from this program". A negative attitude, like a bad experience, can raise an effective mental block to stifle any learning effort and can actually destroy any progressive initiative thereafter.
Much as there are great teachers, nobody really talks about great learners yet, to produce a great teacher you need a great learner. The function of learning, which is what training aims to effect, has always been the preserve of the trainee. No matter how much effort the trainer puts in, if the trainee refuses to switch into "learning mode", the program will be of no effect. Because learning depends on individual ability, experience, exposure, aptitude and talent participation in group training because individuals learn from each other. The group itself is a learning resource. But in order to benefit from any form of training the trainee must exercise the option TO LEARN!
Training is about changing perspectives. During a training program expect to wrestle with new ideas or other approaches that you may not have utilized before. It is all too easy to state " We just can't do things that way!" Without a change in perspective, nothing changes. In a good training session, expect to build a new operational framework, which may tear down some established and hardened beliefs, concepts and work habits.
New perspectives and approaches are often resisted not because they are new, but because with the change a new level of responsibility and accountability is placed on the individual to adjust to the change. Most people don't like change for this reason and those who face change often fear failure. Training helps manage this resistance and fear by a) defining what to do b) how to go about it and c) setting practical expectations and performance standards.
Before perspectives are changed, there is often a battle of wits or a "denial" phase where the real issues are hidden under clouds of dust, digressions, excuses, complaints and long explanations as to why things can't change. In one way this battle is good because it makes us reexamine the value of any form of training. But if this stage is not quickly and effectively dealt with by appreciating that training has something to offer it will cloud the entire training program and take away a great deal of energy from individual and group commitment to put training objectives into action.
BENEFITING FROM TRAINING
In order to benefit from any form of training try to understand the underlying principles and objectives of the training program and identify specific areas of personal attention to impact your own development. During the training, identify intervention areas that you will need to begin working on immediately. The rate of decline of recall is exponential unless the knowledge gained is made practical and utility oriented.
Training should make you a better person or make you understand others better. That is why training is not to be attended for selfish reasons. It can be a powerful means of learning about and with others. Training is an experience out of which you should come out richer having added value to yourself and having the capacity to bless and assist others.
If you have undergone training by yourself on some individual/external program, implementing learning can be a struggle especially where you need executive muscle to implement learned strategies. Expect this. Expect resistance. Remember your colleagues did not attend the training with you and may not have the renewed perspective that you have developed. Implementing learning is parallel to introducing change. You will need to set goals and realistic targets to address current problems and define steps that will enable you to ensure the desired change takes place. If you do not have the administrative authority to put your learning into practice you may have to seek audience with your superior and together work out how your new perspectives can benefit the organization. Sometimes organization structures may obstruct the implementation of positive change and this may need to be pointed out for management review.
After in-house training programs use the group momentum gained during the training session to implement changed approaches to work. Call each group member to account for learning and maintenance of new standards. In this way, you will help maximize the impact of training throughout the organization.
TRAINING FOR LIFE
Training is about learning and learning is about life. No experience is a waste of time. All experiences form a part of life so make use of them effectively. The accomplishments you will be recognized for in future are the sum total of all the learning and instruction you put into practice today.
Training is a personal effect. By making good use of your training, you will be able to positively influence your work mates, colleagues, friends, family, business associates for good. If you learn to plan at work, you can apply the principles of planning to influence the quality of your life and that of your environment.
Human beings from their first day on earth are expected to grow. At some point physical growth stops, but they are still expected to continue growing intellectually and even when that reaches its limit the result should be wisdom and spiritual strength which is nurtured, developed (trained) throughout life. So take your training seriously and apply it.
Adapted from a training marketing article (2000) by the writer
Adapted from a training marketing article (2000) by the writer