"Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn."
The other day I answered a query someone had about where they could get help to implement ‘Investors in People’. I started by asking what it was they wanted to achieve? Which got me thinking about learning.
It’s said that some firms give new employees brief training on how to do the job and then that’s it. Some invest in things like team building exercises or NLP because it’s the done thing or they want to be seen to be doing something. There’s probably benefit in both these things but training and development shouldn’t be a random add on to the business it should be what drives individual and team growth to enable business growth.
The only factor by which you can judge the effectiveness of training and development is by improved business results. Yes, there can be indirect measures like better attendance and time-keeping, a better atmosphere in the office, less time spent supervising or reworking but these are not ends in themselves. All development should be positively affecting the bottom line including Customer satisfaction.
Some training has to be in sheep dip/ classroom style and may have to be outsourced but you can facilitate learning everyday on the job:
Training and development in whatever form it takes should always be about improving results. Sometimes you can see an immediate effect; sometimes it will take a while but you’ll see improvements over a period of time. Bear in mind that to judge improvements you need to know where you started from, like getting on the scales before you try to lose weight! So know your critical numbers before you start.
Do one thing: establish your critical business numbers and make a start.
Thanks for reading :)
Contentment can sound like a dirty word in business. There’s a thought that we should all be striving and pursuing and achieving and other go-getting verbs! And I agree I’m all for continuous improvement, for making things better and easier for clients; for being as good as I can be. That is my business mantra, as I know it will be for many of you. But things can start to turn sour if the constant exposure to social media makes people start to feel unworthy and discontent by comparison with peers. I read recently that this is happening and starting to undermine people’s self-worth. So today I want to share with you a short story which I hope will shore up any flagging self-esteem and draw learning points to restore or protect your self-belief.
Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin…
Long, long, ago in a land far, far away there lived an old man. Each day he went to the stream with two earthen pots hung from either end of a pole. One was perfect, always full of water, the other was cracked and leaking, only half full when he got back to the house.
One day the cracked pot said (stick with me) to the man, ‘I’m so ashamed’.
‘Why on earth would that be?’ asked the old man.
‘I’m hopeless!’, said the pot, ‘water leaks out of my cracks all the way back to your house and you never get home with two full pots of water. I’m a failure.’
‘You couldn’t be more wrong’ laughed the old man, ‘you’re a wonderful pot. On the way back home look carefully at the side of the path and tell me what you see.’
All the way home the cracked pot paid attention, and at the end of their walk the old man asked him what he’d seen.
‘Flowers’ answered the miserable pot. ‘I know they’re beautiful, but it doesn’t help me. It was nice to look at the flowers but here I am only half full again. I’m still leaking. I’m still a failure. I’m so sorry old man.’
The old man smiled. ‘You daft old pot,’ he said, ‘there’s no need to be sorry. Did you not notice where the flowers were growing?’
‘Well, yes,’ said the puzzled pot. ’On my side of the path; why?’
‘All these years I’ve planted seed on your side of the path. And every day as we walked back from the stream, you’ve watered them, and the seeds have grown, and the flowers have bloomed for all the villagers to see. You are a wonderful pot. Because you are the way you are, the village path is full of beautiful flowers.’
The cracked pot glowed with pride and happily watered the path for ever after, content that he was after all, a wonderful pot.
Sweet story, but how does it relate to you and your business? There are a few key learning points:
Do one thing: Brainstorm all the good things you do and all the value you add in your life as a whole, and in your business specifically, as a person and as a business owner. Then take the time to celebrate your YOUness.
Thanks for reading.
Marianne is the author of three books, and is currently working on her fourth, whilst regularly writing her blog, we hope you enjoy it :-)