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Training – Necessary or Perk? March 11, 2009

Posted by Kevin Burns in attitude, attitude adjustment, coaching, contribution, kevin burns, keynote speaker, leadership, personal development, training, values.

Are you treating training as a perk? If your organization has chosen to forego training sessions for your people at this time in our economy, then you are telling your people that training is not really necessary. You’re telling them that their improvement on the job is a perk. And that’s a horrible message to be sending your people at this time.

Employees are looking for reassurances right now: that they are valued, that their contribution matters and that business continues in spite of what the economy may be doing. If you’ve pulled your training programs until the economy gets better, you’re saying that you want your people to be nervous, to be frightened, to be uncertain and that is the message your people will pass on to your customers.

Training, the right kind of training, is not a perk – it’s necessary. In fact, training your people to become more confident, more resilient and stronger individuals is exactly the kind of leadership these times require. Not hosting continuing training sessions for your people because you may be scrutinized in the same light as AIG (after they were handed bailout money) is a follower’s way of doing business – not a leader’s way.

You need confident, resilient and strong individuals on the job right now. You need individuals who are not afraid of a turn in the economy away from the Boom times. You need individuals who, in spite of what the media may be saying, are confident that they can get a leg up on the competition.

ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT: When the economy starts to rebound (and there are glimmers of that happening right now), will you choose to be ahead of the competition or lagging behind the competition? Second place is not leadership. Tenth place is not leadership. Leadership is an attitude of busting through the difficulties and not allowing reasons, excuses or justifiers to stand in your way.

Anyone can be a naysayer. That’s easy. But not everyone can say to their staff, “In spite of what’s happening in the world, we think we have a great shot at taking extra market share. We think you’re the people who can do the job and we’re going to make sure that you have the right tools, the right products and the right attitude to be successful regardless of the circumstances.”

Professional athletes are still being coached even if the stands are not full of fans and gate receipt revenues are down. The coaches of these teams aren’t saying, “We’re not coaching you to be any better until the economy is better.” No way. It’s “game on” right now. So how come you’re not coaching your players?

Training is not a perk. If you’ve pulled your training budgets, then when it does come time to train your people, they won’t take it seriously because you didn’t take it seriously when your people needed it most. In leadership, it’s not what you say that matters – it’s what you do. Your actions determine your outcome.

If you want your people to take their jobs seriously, to take their contribution seriously and to take you seriously, then you had better take them seriously. Your people are the one asset that never depreciates. Treat them like the investment they are. Invest in them and they will invest in you – regardless of where the economy is at. You will get what you give.



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