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The Answer Is NOT More Tools November 5, 2009

Posted by Kevin Burns in greatness.

I am astounded by the number of organizations who think that by simply throwing generic training at their people will somehow magically get them to do the part of the job they’re not doing.

Let me explain. For a salesperson who isn’t making sales calls, the answer is not to give them more training in closing the sale. For a manager who won’t provide feedback to his people, offering communication training isn’t going to change that. For a front-line customer service rep who won’t say “thank you” to customers, more training in customer service isn’t going to help. For people who won’t do the full job, offering more training is not going to fix it. That’s like going out and buying a 17-piece power drill set for the husband who won’t fix the loose door-handle with a simple Phillips screwdriver. He had the screwdriver all along. He just didn’t want to do it.

The same can be said of how organizations try to fix Attitude problems by throwing training at it hoping it fixes itself.

A salesperson who won’t make sales calls has an Attitude of being afraid of rejection. That’s a confidence problem, not a knowledge problem. You can train people all you want in sales but if they have no confidence to make the calls, they won’t. Most sales training doesn’t solve the “I might be rejected” problem.

Managers who won’t offer their people feedback likely have an Attitude of superiority and have somehow come to believe that offering compliments is for the weak. That’s someone’s deep-seated belief. Offering more communication strategies doesn’t change the Attitude. They know how to to communicate. They just won’t. More training simply gives them more useless tools that they won’t use because what they believe negates what you’re teaching them.

Customer Service reps who won’t say “thank you” to a customer probably don’t say it to anyone. No matter how well you may train them in the art of serving customers, if you don’t affect their underlying Attitudes, you will never have success in training. They won’t say “thanks” if they don’t believe in saying “thanks.”

Sure, one of the answer to all of the issues I’ve offered is to fire these folks because they’re clearly not matched up with their strengths. But I use these illustrations to make a point: giving people more useless tools doesn’t address the reason why they’re not using the tools they already have. That reason is that their Attitudes are more profoundly ingrained than your band-aid solution of training them more.

Building a house at 125 Maple Street is pointless if the foundation has been poured at 216 Oak Avenue. Your training has to build on where their foundation (attitudes, opinions and beliefs) has already been constructed. Mediocre organizations offer up generic training. Great organizations appeal to their people’s deep-seated beliefs first and then build on that.

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