Since this is my first post in the “Training Tuesday” series, I am going to share my thoughts on the concept of training and why I determined that it was important enough to dedicate a weekly post to the subject. So without further ado… WELCOME TO TRAINING TUESDAY!!
What is training and why is it important?
The definition of training is to teach a particular skill or behavior through practice and instruction over a period of time.
I think the most common understanding of training in our society today is the teaching of a particular skill. We rarely focus on the behavior aspect of it. There is a subtle, yet important, difference that should be highlighted between the two facets of this definition. Skill reflects one’s capability. It is measurable through the evaluation of the quality of execution of the skill in question. There are many studies that exist which evaluate the usefulness and importance of this type of training. There are tens of billions of dollars spent on this aspect of training by businesses every year. Our entire school system from preschool to college is dedicated to this kind of training.
But what about the behavior side of the equation? This area of training is a bit more tricky. If skill reflects capability, behavior reflects attitude. A person’s attitude is usually pretty deeply ingrained. This is great if the attitude is a desirable one. Not so much if it is otherwise. I can’t stress the importance of this area enough. Hiring and firing decisions are made all the time based on attitude and behavior. Movies are made that share inspiring stories on little more than the premise of the power of a positive attitude.
Let’s look at the movie “Rudy” for example. It is the story of Rudy Ruttiger, a small kid who grew up with dreams of playing football for Notre Dame. A good portion of the movie is about his seemingly tireless effort and determination to even get accepted to Notre Dame, let alone play football for them. Once he finally makes the team, he is relegated to playing defense during practice only to help condition the offensive line that would actually see play time. In one scene, it is the last practice of the year. The season is basically over, yet Rudy is running every play as though it truly mattered. The quarterback gets upset when Rudy sacks him. You can see the juxtaposition of a player with great skill and a poor attitude and an unremarkable player with a great attitude. The coach calls out the quarterback saying, “If you had a tenth of the heart of Ruttiger’s you’d have made All-American!” It takes a lot of skill to play at the All-American level. This line says a lot. Check out the scene below.
The most skilled worker offers little to no value if they have a poor attitude. The good news is that this can be addressed with a bit of time and intention. Training for desired behavior is very relational. It’s not like Pavlov where you can ring a bell, hand out a treat, and they improve their attitude. It will require leaders to spend time with each other and their teams identifying behaviors that they want to promote and coaching to grow those behaviors.
When you combine a group of people into a team or organization, the collective attitude of the group is the culture. So the importance of this kind of training is that it allows you to purposefully perpetuate the desired culture of your organization. Here are several articles that explain the importance and value of culture in your business.
The fact the business culture and personal attitude play such large roles in achieving success is why I have chosen to devote one day every week to exploring, sharing, and teaching about training.
Thanks for joining me in this first installment of “Training Tuesday”. In a future installment, I will talk about the 2 M’s of improving attitudes and culture; Modeling and Morale.