Training for Performance

The challenge of integrating Recruiting, On-boarding, and Training highlights the importance of advancing the progress of the individual from on-boarding to training. The most recent blog on this subject, On-boarding with Purpose, addressed some effective elements of on-boarding. Let’s advance the process to the training process, post the initial indoctrination to the company. The means by which early-stage employees are developed is critical in creating a culture in which they can become engaged and productive.

During the on-boarding phase the real person, real skills, real attitudes, and real behaviors will be revealed. The pageantry of the interviewing process is long gone. Now the true individual becomes known by their actions, not the words they used when attempting to sell themselves into the position.

Available Tools

There are tools available to help define the next steps to best develop the talents of each individual. One of many such tools is the book Strengths Finder by Tom Rath. In going through this book, I had the proverbial light bulb come on. Rath exposes what he calls the Path of Most Resistance. “At its fundamentally flawed core, the aim of almost any learning program is to help us become who we are not.”

Simply put, many training programs and even traditional classrooms focus the attention on the lowest grade or greatest shortcoming. Rath points out that overcoming deficits is part of the fabric of our culture; the underdogs who beat the million to one odds.

Invest Where There is Potential for Greatest

I recently saw a presentation by Annette Wehrli in which she demonstrated a Performance Action Plan. Showing four different color boxes that formed a square, she asked us to write 1 in the box describing the strength that came most naturally to us. Followed by a 2 in the category that would produce benefit by tapping in. The boxes were titled: Executing, Influencing, Relationship Building, and Strategic Thinking. These terms were accompanied by descriptions which resembled horoscopes. You know, where each had a little something relevant to the reader.

The Performance Equation

Annette provided a formula that made a lot of sense:

Innate Strengths (come naturally) + Competence (knowledge/skills) + Commitment (Passion) = Performance

The point is to continue to sharpen the saw with respect to strengths and to improve our competences through training and study. This will yield the greatest gains in performance.

The Training Formula

We should take the time to learn as much as we can about the new hires during the onboarding phase. We can then apply the performance equation to determine the most beneficial training path. Remember “What Millennials are really looking for in the workplace is a sense of purpose. For many Millennials, a sense of purpose shows up in the form of training and development opportunities.” (Gallup)

Following the Performance Equation, a way to achieve this is to train them in a way that capitalizes on their innate strengths and allows for them to expand their competence(s). The commitment piece should become evident during onboarding. If it is lacking, the relationship is likely doomed.

Is your on-boarding program being conducted in a way to learn about the employee’s strengths in order to “invest where there is the greatest potential for greatness.” Are you looking for ways to expand their competence(s)? Maybe it’s time to review training through the lens of strength and competence development and match with a teammate who compensates for the weaknesses. Investment in human capital is more crucial today than ever.

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