Our training beliefs determine how we grow. There are those who believe that training programs are multipliers of skills and accelerators of progress. Some think that training is a time waster.
A supervisor in a government agency has his first supervisory training after 17 years in government service. He was very grateful.
A supervisor in a private company has been working there for 25 years. It was his first supervisory training participation too. But he said that he was too old to learn new tricks.
I was also him who said that he did not see the point of training his subordinates.
“Once they learned what I do, they’ll replace me”.
His training beliefs prevented him from becoming a manager.
This reminds me of Maria. Her training beliefs influenced her actions.
Wrong Beliefs About Training
Here’s the story.
About ten years ago, a resort owner requested that I help her manager. I will tell you their story to share insights about incompetence and training.
Unfortunately, I heard that the manager resigned two years ago. But the lesson I learned may guide us today.
The resort faced many challenges.
Customers were not happy about their lousy service. It is typical for them to get complaints about the wait time and arrogant servers. She told me that they stopped reading comments on social media to avoid stress.
She complained about not being respected. She said that she got the position for two reasons. First, she’s been with the resort for 18 years. And second, managers don’t stay longer than two years.
“I am working for an angry old man,” she said. “I am trying my best, but I have no idea how to become a good manager.”
I told her that there were many things to do. But one thing I can help her with is training all supervisors and managers. They need the most help. And she needed all the support from them.
“We cannot do a whole day of training.”
She told me they never had any training because they were too busy. I told her that we could have 90-minute learning sessions every week.
We had five previous conversations, three of which were with the owner. The owner told her to listen to my advice. She said she would.
She tried to give me a dozen excuses for why training supervisors was impossible.
I was not surprised. I had seen something like this before when I was still teaching. Many teachers do not want to waste their time with seminars.
Supervisors who refused training do not see the benefit of our offers. So either our training has no real benefit, or they are blind to see the benefits.
When we met again, I realized that training wouldn’t be possible.
Supervisors were not interested.
Her supervisors did not want to join the training program. Maria said that she found it challenging to convince supervisors to attend a weekly 90-minute session on effective supervising.
Some of her supervisors persuaded her there was nothing wrong with them, and they felt offended.
Ana, one of her supervisors, is convinced that she is too busy doing their job and that attending the training will add to her burden. Besides, the supervisor she replaced never participated in any training until she retired.
I shook my head as I listened to her. Unfortunately, she did not inform them about the benefits of the training. Instead, she asked her subordinates for their permission.
She told me she didn’t want any trouble.
They thought they had no problem.
Never mind that customers constantly complained of lousy service. Their customers, they thought, were just too demanding.
Never mind that many employees sleep on the job; people get tired of too much work.
Never mind that employees did not report on time and requests were not acted on immediately.
Never mind that they don’t want to entertain more customers. They said they’ll work based on how much they got paid by the company. (But the owner paid them well.)
They believe there is no problem. And I knew that the most challenging crowd to teach are those who consider you a nuisance.
They thought they were good.
Good is the enemy of great. Jim Collins said that.
And I understand why some people think they are good.
When your company is in the top five in your industry, you can say that you are doing good. When customers rave about your services, you can say you are good. When your employees are leaders, you can say that you are good.
This resort was not this good.
But supervisors think they are good enough that they don’t need training. Supervisors who do not recognize the need to improve will not improve. So I told Maria that she must help her supervisors see the need.
And that given the belief of her supervisor about training, the training is urgent.
Ten years after, I went back to the place. But, unfortunately, Maria is no longer there. The training never happened. And the service remains the same.