Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The 7 Biggest People Mistakes - #7: Wasting Training Dollars

How much of a fan of training are you? How about your people? Why is this? Isn't it kind of fun to learn cool new ideas or techniques and be the best you can possibly be in your job? I've spent gillion's (the amount after losing track, I believe) of dollars on training for myself, my companies and my teams. Everything from 7 different sales training systems, CRM systems, expert consultants, motivational speakers (fun stories there for sure!), internal HR driven training & courses, online courses, webinar's...they all disappointed in more ways than they helped.

Now, I'm not down on training...don't get me wrong. I do believe its fundamental to achieving success. Major league baseball players wouldn't jump into playing 162 games without working through spring training. Our beloved armed forces have 'boot camp' for a specific reason. I totally get this. I train to run too, and you can't cram for a marathon, as they say, very true. My focus is to stop WASTING training dollars, not stop SPENDING training dollars!

How. Yes, that is the question. I propose you start by knowing exactly where your people are strong and weak in their professional lives. Why aren't they all 'A-Players'? Where are the gaps? You see this coming don't you? Train to the gaps. Really obvious? Maybe, but here's a cool way to save some $$$ next time you're inclined to hire that consultant or spend on that training program. I'm working with a great client where we are actually starting with looking at their people's DNA for a particular task. Who has what types of traits, behaviors and competencies? Once we know where the people are really strong and really weak, we'll simply decide which training vendor can customize the best plan for them. My part is quick, simple and cheap compared to what the training company will come back with, but the cool part is the training company can customize a plan to fit where the client's people need the most help! Saving a ton of $$$.

...and remember the fun of sitting in a training class? Well, these people will actually be challenged because they won't be bored with learning things they're already great at. A very nice way to win all the way around.....!! Try this next time and see if it will help.

The 7 Biggest People Mistakes - #6: Connecting The Dot's of Your People's Performance

By now you might know we're fans of using a bunch of ideas and tools to verify the 'best' attributes found in people; either a candidate for a position or possibly a person you're looking to promote. But after you've used these tools or ideas, do you stop? I mean do you use any other tools or metrics to assess or ensure your maximizing your people and their performance?

This is a great opportunity to 'connect the dots' of your people's performance and truly understand what makes success happen. It takes a little bit of calculating, but this is the stuff of legends when it comes to making you look great to your boss. Its an analytical world. ROI is king.

Ok, specifics. First, if you have used a good profile assessment tool, you have specific scores in specific traits and competencies. I hope this is what you use to hire or promote your people. If not, this might be tough from here on out. Next you have to look at and capture the specific metrics of what defines success in that role.... For a sales person, how many appointments/meetings, presentations and closes do the 'A-Players' make on your team? How many does the 'C-Player' make? For another position, it might be customer satisfaction scores. Find a metric. Be very specific. If your not doing THIS part, then we REALLY need to talk. You need to have metrics and keep score. Once you have all this data, you start to look for trends in this information. What behaviors drive higher scores? What behaviors drive more sales?

This suggestion may seem pretty simple on the surface but is tough to execute. You can however do this in Microsoft Excel of all things. It helps to have a great knowledge of this program or access to someone who does, but you can connect the dots of what makes your best people different from everyone else by correlating behaviors to performance. You can also look at why certain people leave the company or why your workers compensation claims are high. Any metric you might have will probably be found in the DNA of your people. Connecting the dots of information is essential to making your people and company great!