Passing on the Knowledge

career development communication communication skills in the workplace effective communication hard skills high performers improving your profitability by building better leaders leadership management manager performance profit profitability profitability killers soft skills succession planning supervision supervisor training Oct 17, 2023
Improving Your Profitability By Building Better Leaders

As we looked at the cost of a poor promotion, I shared some stories with you about a few different rockstar employees I had worked with over the years. One of them had been an assembly line lead for close to four decades but absolutely refused to even consider taking the next step into a supervisory or management role. Another was as knowledgeable as anyone I ever knew about every single piece of equipment in the department he worked in but struggled mightily when he moved into a team lead role for that same department. I realize both examples were from a manufacturing environment but I’m willing to bet that you can picture similar examples in any industry you’re currently in… 

A reality we’ll all face at some point in our leadership journey will be that every outstanding performer on our teams just won’t be interested in climbing the company ladder. And as hard as accepting that will sometimes be, our challenge then becomes helping them be the best they can right where they are AND providing them with the tools they’ll need to pass their expertise on to the team members coming behind. While some folks may not have interest in chasing or even accepting promotions, that doesn’t mean they’re not a critical part of our succession planning process!

While I still fancy myself as a decent carpenter and I could probably still teach you how to operate a 250 ton stamping press to make the blanks that get rolled into tubes for inside a muffler, Cindy and I have been very intentional about not even giving the perception that we’re the people to teach the technical skills necessary in any industry. In most cases, you’re going to have experts in-house that can do that. And even if that’s not the case, I’m very unlikely to have the time at this point in my life to be the technical expert you need. But what we have been able to do has been to help the experts who are in the organizations we’re working with become incredibly effective at passing on what they had worked so long to learn. There have been a few cases where those folks have been supervisors or managers who had already completed our Emerging Leader Development course, but the biggest need for this has been with those who had no interest at all in those positions.

Either way, our approach to Developing Effective Trainers combines much of what we provide to help leaders communicate more effectively with the concepts I detailed before for having tough conversations, then we add a healthy dose of the necessary steps for earning influence and buy-in so anyone receiving the training is actually willing to listen without having their lived threatened! One thing we stress when we tailor this specific course for any company is that it is not the stereotypical approach to training trainers; we’re not telling anyone how many times to show, do, or watch - we’re providing them with the tools they’ll need to pass the expertise they already have onto to their peers in a way that increases their influence and captures the profitability that would otherwise be lost if they left the organization and took all their knowledge with them. And when we’ve needed to, we’ve added one more step to that process to make sure they can truly apply what they’ve learned - and that’s what we’ll work through next.