People-development converts payroll costs to asset-investment
Post 2: Justin thought long about how to approach Gwen with his discovery because he didn’t want her to close the door to his help – now that she’d opened it a crack and shared about her challenge with training Sandy. He started with a thank-you.
“Gwen, thanks for sending me the training link; for me, it was a great overview of the processes. I did notice something that might link back to your mystery with Sandy’s behavior.”
“I’m all ears. She seems so willing; I really do want to figure this out.” Gwen was beginning to trust that Justin thought of her as a peer and not just a former front-line associate.
“I wanted to give you an analogy first to see if I can explain it better. Your potluck contributions suggest you like to cook; am I right?” Gwen nodded, and he continued. “Well, if you gave someone who only knew basics like egg-boiling & microwaving the most complex recipe you have, what kinds of challenges do you think they might have?”
Gwen wanted to roll her eyes, but decided to give him some rope…. “Well, lots of my recipes assume cooks know the difference between things like sauté, sear, broil or stew. I’ve been teaching my nephew to fix family dinners, and I have to do lots of defining terms like that. It’s funny how you experiment over time and assume everyone knows your discoveries.”
Eureka! Justin was amazed he’d picked a good analogy. “That’s exactly what I think Sandy is facing with this new level, Gwen. She has the basic egg-boiling down, and she sees how to do the job from the training. But the processes are just the recipe and glossary. There are so many other aspects that drive judgement calls; she has functional resources, but there is still something missing. Can your nephew handle substituting ingredients yet or adjusting when something goes wrong with a dish?”
“Not consistently at this stage; but he knows the questions to ask to get him in the right direction.”
Justin continued, “Sandy may know the questions also, but it seems she is lacking experience that would confirm the answers. Think about how much ‘back story’ our tenured associates have from changes they’ve lived through; and they use that knowledge daily to make the best decisions. Being new, I’m guessing Sandy just hasn’t developed that. Does that make sense and do you think that is what she is missing?”
“Let me think about this, Justin. I think you’ve uncovered a piece of the puzzle I hadn’t considered. Also, can you think about how I would solve that? I’m sure you’ve faced this kind of thing before.”
Justin was encouraged that Gwen asked for his help. He had been very tempted to draw an analogy between Sandy’s needs and Gwen’s own career learning, but he knew it was too soon. “Sure I will; my calendar is current; put a bit of time on there for tomorrow if you are available.”
Reality: Using the term ‘training’ as a catch-all phrase for learning can be a misleading habit. Cultures that create distinction between training [as learning how to do a task correctly] and development [as learning how to do the task when the prescribed ways are weak] can offer powerful learning advantages to employees. This cultural distinction often drives faster, stronger results for the business.
FOLLOW US & don’t miss the next PEPPERBOX blog: Gwen has offered Sandy all the training that exists; how will she help Sandy get the rest of the support she needs to perform successfully?