What Is The One Thing Most Companies Suck At Doing

white-belt-vs-black-belt.png

If you’ve guessed training – then you’re on the right track.

What is the point of investing in a training programme?

It might make sense if you have a defined role – perhaps a safety critical one.

We want pilots to be trained. Surgeons. Bus drivers.

There are some roles where you’re putting your life in the hands of someone else – you definitely want them trained to the highest possible standard.

You’ve heard the old joke – why do pilots follow procedures and checklist so much more than surgeons?

Because surgeons are involved while pilots are committed.

As a pilot, you’re on board with the passengers. If you screw up – you don’t get to escape.

Many other professions looks like they also see training as important – lawyers, for example. Financial advisers. Accountants.

These professions have long qualification periods and exams to pass before you’re allowed to practice as one.

But… is the point of all that to protect people?

The unsaid bit is that a big part of it is to protect the profession involved.

Basically, as a professional, you want to limit the number of people who compete with you. Creating a qualification and training requirement that stretches over years is one way of controlling the number of people who enter the profession.

That control over supply means you can keep prices high.

This kind of training doesn’t result in better quality. In fact, it can lead to worse service. Most financial advisers are better at working out what commissions they can make on a client’s portfolio than really growing it.

These kinds of jobs are the ones that the internet will kill off – as low cost self service options make it possible for people to get the same results at a cheaper price.

But then there is all the rest of business – which dwarfs the bit done by professionals.

Here you have workers and managers, doing jobs in industries from manufacturing to mining.

And, in any business, there are a number of things you need to do well to keep clients happy.

Clients – not customers. A customer is someone who buys something from you. A client is someone you advise and have a duty to.

A company is built around a set of products and services – it takes in inputs and sells outputs.

But how many companies have people in charge who think about the people the serve.

Yes – they serve customers or clients. Clearly those are important.

But what about your team – your employees?

How does your company see them? Are they resources, roles that need to be filled? Or are they people that you want to develop?

It’s like martial arts training. Do you want a company filled with white belts or black belts?

What makes the difference between a white belt and a black belt?

Well, usually one knows more moves than the other – but not that many more. Not thousands of moves. Perhaps 20 key ones.

The difference is that the black belt has practiced those moves thousands of times until they are second nature.

Their trainer didn’t just sit them in front of a blackboard and list out the steps or show them a video.

They also practiced, day after day.

And that’s what training should be. Not a one time demonstration or a presentation.

But regular, ongoing practice.

Not training – but practice. Practice is what turns a white belt into a black belt.

And that’s what will make you and your company better as well.

But – think about it. Does your company invest in training and practice?

And, if not, what can you do about that?

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