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The fall is here. Winter is fast approaching. With it, comes an opportunity to learn from the challenges of the past season. Making an improvement stick, however, is more than a one-time meeting.  A major part of long-term success is a culture of training and continuous improvement. Developing a training culture requires advanced planning on what and how training will be conducted, and how others will help to implement it.  Consider the following exercise: Draft a simple one-page training plan that schedules training six months out. On a piece of paper, make four columns. Label the columns: What, Who, When and How.

What:

Brainstorm with your Crew Leaders and other “A-Players” a potential list of topics. Consider seasonal changes and the training required to make the adjustments (e.g.  “Moving Inside” when the cold weather hits). Consider technical skills and leadership skills – both should be scheduled.

Who:

List the employees you want to participate in the training.  Some sessions will only require your Crew Leaders, while others should involve all your painters. Spend the most time with your “A” and “B” players. Training is a privilege and must be earned.

When:

Put dates and times next to the training item.  This begins to formalize your training. Without a date and time, it’s an empty promise. Make the commitment to improve your team by setting a date.

How:

What methods will be used and who will deliver them? How will you make it memorable – make it stick? This is the fun part, so be creative!
The key is to “just do it” and get guys talking and sharing – don’t let “making it great” get in the way of doing something good today.  Stay focused on implementing, rather than perfection.  Be careful not to over-complicate your training or try to cover too much. Tackle two topics per month and be committed to the long term.  Leave some room on the schedule for “just- on-time training” (JOTT).  Your JOTT should address issues you’re currently dealing with in the field. Finally, give a draft of the schedule to your key people and get their input.

Next winter, get out of the hourglass by delegating the schedule to your key Crew Leaders. They can use this year’s schedule as a template!

Have a great week!
-Andrew

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