I run a regular solution council. It's a way of describing an issue and gaining the wisdom of the group to help find the answers that allow you to move forward. This time the thinker described the issue where their boss thought that training was a waste of time as, “they’ll leave anyway”.
So they wanted the group's wisdom on the following question. "How can I convince my boss otherwise?”
A common issue
It's a common issue, and one that shows a lack of leadership. Quite probably the boss views training as just attending expensive courses and if they've had a bad experience they'll be judging everything against that, all the time not challenging their assumptions. And all the time there's this type of thinking at any level, training will never be valued for what it is and can do. Successful businesses realise it’s much more than that – and that’s the point. Appropriate, focused training to support business objectives (ideally run within a Thinking Environment) brings success and success (provided it’s recognised) brings loyalty.
And what came from that?
What then was the action plan that came out of the solution council? Firstly to identify real examples of where training, in its widest form, had already brought benefit to the firm. Secondly, canvass the staff to find out what they’re already doing: learning by watching and copying, keeping up-to-date with market trends and applying what’s relevant, a manager keeping a watchful, encouraging eye on a new or up and coming staff member, bringing tricks from external activities such as managing voluntary groups or running committee meetings into the workplace. Thirdly enter an employee into one of the many Awards Ceremonies so the boss can see how formal recognition of someone’s efforts enhances staff commitment.
Lastly, be clear about how all this and other types of learning benefits the company’s objectives. Acknowledge that yes, some people will leave, they would anyway. The remainder will be better trained, more motivated, more productive and the firm will be more successful.
I love getting the wisdom of a group. Not advice, as that closes down thinking, but wisdom. So keep an eye out for the next problem spot and solution council action plan.
Laura Murphy blogs about things that interest her. They might not interest you but read them anyway. It might even change your mind.