The Right Message From the Right Person…Aug 30, 2023
I won’t speak for you but it sure seems like my parents became exponentially smarter as I moved from my late teens/early twenties to being an adult who had to be responsible. So much more of the advice they gave me resonated and could be immediately applied! I just can’t understand why it took them so long to get there… There were plenty of times where I could have used that wisdom years earlier!
I’m clearly joking about that. I have no doubt that I was indeed given as much or more necessary wisdom and guidance in my teens but paid little attention because I knew everything I needed to already. And if you’ve got kids, you’ve already experienced that from the other side - or you will soon enough! In many cases, we all need an outside voice to be able to hear a message. When my son started talking about possibly changing jobs a few years ago, that’s ONE of the reasons I contacted several friends who own businesses in different industries to provide him with input on career opportunities in those industries that he might not have heard at all if it only came from me. The other reason was that each of my friends that I connected him with had a level of expertise in their respective fields that I never will and could offer him a level of insight that I just couldn’t provide…
Let’s think about how that applies to providing the RIGHT training for each of our team members so they can grow in their current roles as well as into the roles they’re most interested in as their careers progress. Knowing who they really are and where they want to go is a big part of that but we also need to consider who is most appropriate to provide them with that training. There are certain skill sets that can and should be developed internally and on a daily basis, regardless of the industry. And even with the most skilled people in our respective industry, there will be times where we need to get outside support for those technical skills; new technology may change how something is done, we may be moving into a new area of opportunity, or maybe it’s just more cost effective like sending someone through an apprenticeship at a trade school so they learn some of the foundational knowledge that we just don’t have time to teach on the job. Recognizing the right fit matters for hard skills but it’s absolutely critical for those things we often consider as soft or intangible!
As I shared when we looked at some of the things promotions have traditionally been based on, and how many organizations struggle to address the challenges that come when a strong team member moves into a role with leadership responsibility, developing the expertise necessary for these great team members to effectively lead the folks who had previously been their peers is rarely something that can be done well in-house. In many scenarios, there’s just not enough hours in the day. In others, the executive team may be doing OK themselves but doing something well and being able to teach others to do it can be very different - even if there is time. And even if there is enough time and there’s access to decent training material, whoever is sending the message needs to have a connection with the ones who need to receive it!
Several years ago, we worked with a large organization to provide this type of development for a fairly large group of their supervisors and managers. The executive we worked with ruffled a few feathers at his corporate office by getting us involved; not because we weren’t well received but because someone there had been talking about providing something similar for years but had never taken action. His other reason for approaching us rather than the person at the corporate office was that most of his team didn’t like or respect that person. He had seen our work and how we related to participants so he knew his team would be much more open to us than the individual from the corporate office.
Let me be clear here: I”m not telling who should be doing what training for any of your team members, I’m simply sharing a few examples for perspective. Making those decisions requires knowing a lot of very specific details about an organization and each team member. While I’m always happy to help a client (or potential client) work through that process, I never take it lightly! The point I’m driving is that, whatever training we provide and whoever delivers it, it’s our responsibility to get it right so that’s what we’ll work through next…