If youre like most leaders in an organization, you spend countless hours just keeping up with day to day and week to week tasks and duties. Considering everything required to keep the organization moving forward and the limited resources with the expertise or trust to perform them, coupled with everything being asked to be completed, there certainly may not be much time left for what is initially perceived as a lower priority topic
continuing education. Often times it is easy to get entrenched within the normal course of business, be successful, figure things are going according to plan and get locked into simply staying the course. This type of thinking can easily restrict and shift a business from being in front of the competition to potentially behind. With continuing education, I am not referring to simply learning how to use your new cell phone. I am referring to expanding all of the employees, including the leaderships, ability to perform from a different perspective or even reset back to an efficient perspective. If you consider all the tools available to a business which will facilitate efficiency and effective organization management, you have to wonder how many are actually utilized to their fullest extent. On top of this thinking, how often is education required for the same tools currently being used to perform the same tasks from day to day?
Typically, there seems to be a presumption that once something is taught, the person learning becomes a permanent expert. With this, I also typically see leadership consider training to new staff members with hand-me-down style training, the most effective. Most often this type of training does not follow any regimented curriculum, guidelines, or validation/testing processes. Also, typically, the most knowledgeable in the subject matter (Subject Matter Expert or SME) is picked for the training task. This logic is met with a very high potential for gaps in processes, gaps in efficiency, and gaps in purity of expectations. This is due to many reasons; the person selected to train, may not be effective as a trainer even though they may be the SME. Original documented business processes are not included with the training. No formal validation process or testing is conducted to ensure the trainee fully understood all of the material given to them. And lastly, any bad habits or short cuts developed by the person training are typically handed down to the new trainee. These are very important factors to consider when establishing a training program. The one thing that is almost always missed however is continuous education.
Continuous education not only involves formally reviewing what was taught at some point in the past and what you may think you already know, but also learning something new and taking the previous education to the next level. It is easy for a director, manager, supervisor or other level of business leader to send staff members to training and assume anything important will be brought back to them. This is not to suggest every person in any leadership position must know all the subject matter material in earnest which the staff will learn, but they should have a very clear picture of what is being trained to their staff. In doing this, they must sit through the training as well. Other forms of continuous education are learning something new. It can be as simple as Word, Excel, or even Internet software. It can be related to new management techniques, new technology, or even potential fixed asset advancement.
Many large companies require some form of continuous education in everyones performance progress while others never approach the subject. Some smaller companies encourage their staff/employees towards continuous education while others never approach the subject. Many top level owners, directors, and even managers neglect to seek any continuous education. It is important to continually improve everyone in the organization and at every level. It not only raises the mental abilities for continuous improvement within the business itself, it also helps to build confidence with you, your staff, and your employees by supporting personal achievements. The typical fear is people will become smarter and then leave. If the culture reflects your true support in their improvement of self, most often, people dont leave; they simply work harder to show their gratitude and new worth. The key is to make continuous education a priority. You will be surprised the value it will return to the business.