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Educate for Understanding, Train for Skill

My son Owen began his college career this past year at Xavier University in Cincinnati. It was interesting to see how various people who asked him what major he had chosen offered their style of advice to him. I think he made the right choice, but it will be a while before we know.

The education many college freshmen begin pursuit of today will be obsolete by the time they graduate four years later. Education is and always has been a constant pursuit. Learning to learn well is the only possible way to compete in the future.  It really always has been that way, but in the past you could have a career and retire before your industry of choice made your education obsolete.

Our world is changing faster than anyone can change with it. Can you beat the pace of change by being the one causing the change? No way. Before you decide what change you want to cause your idea will be obsolete. When there is no way to win there is only one way to win, and that is to continually educate and train yourself and your company.

The investment cost of education and training is an objection I hear very frequently. Owners fear that the person they invest in will leave and render all that effort a waste of time.

Here is my best argument for educating yourself and your people:

You can train your people and they may leave, or you can fail to train them and they remain incompetent, unproductive and on your payroll. You can educate your people and they can contribute to the growth, development, stability, and profitability of your company.

I think I’d choose to invest in educating and training them.

Productivity and retention go up with employer sponsored education and training. The cost of education and training is quickly recovered by having competent people on the job. Yes, they may leave. Retention is a topic for another article.

Remember that this begins at the top where it is even more expensive to employ an incompetent person. Owners, are you participating in lifelong learning?

If you want to hang on to fears, here are some to hang on to:

  • Fear your best people will leave if you do not provide educational opportunities.
  • Fear things will change as they do or even faster, and that you and your people will continue to be unprepared to adapt.
  • Fear you and your people will not recognize the need to cause change, or have the skills to do when you do.
  • Fear that your competitors will invest in education and training of their owners, top managers, and front line associates.

Unfortunately, many business owners and managers have fallen behind and the mess they find their companies in today is the result of failure to pursue constant and continuous education. It is not TOO late until the doors have closed. Begin today.

Educate for Understanding

Yes, it is possible to train without providing background education, but the skills will be narrow and single purpose. Simply training for skill produces a failed strategy. When understanding is present new and broader skill sets are more quickly adopted and refined craftsman-like skill is more easily attained.

Educate for Knowledge

There are principles of business that you cannot change. You can change or make up your own rules but not the principles. There are principles of marketing for example that you do not have to know in order to waste a lot of money on advertising.

Knowledge of the principles, understanding them, and adhering to them is optional. And you can imagine the consequences of not knowing what they are. Perhaps you are living with those consequences?

Does it take longer to educate?

Well yes, it takes longer to become educated, or to educate someone. However, it takes less time to get a return on your investment in a person if you begin by providing for their education. Education is the way to go if you’re after higher productivity at lower cost. The educated person understands how and why the training is constructed. They know the fallacy of the shortcut, and understand the total cost of quality is sometimes greater, but over time produces lasting results.

Knowledge of “how it works” is necessary to understand how to adjust and adapt when things change, as they all too frequently do. Do you think that will change anytime soon?

Opportunity identified and clarified. Now here is a solution.

We are beginning to schedule our Advantage development programs for the coming year now. These programs provide a foundation of education and information. They provide information such as the principles of each subject and create the type of  understanding that can lead to accomplishment.

The result of this educational process is people who know what to do and how to go about doing it. They leave the session with a plan of attack, resources to help them implement their plan, and there is a follow through process that assures accountability for action and results.

If your company needs a Marketplace Advantage in these turbulent times this is how you can get one. Watch for details coming soon, or give us a call to get involved.

Click HERE to check out the Advantage programs.

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