The five keys to successfully train your team

By following these processes you’ll equip your team with the skills they need to make your business thrive, writes business strategist Matt Malouf.

When it comes to training your team, you need to take the time and the care to do it in a way that enables people with different learning styles to understand. Rushing through new processes with your sales guys or frontline staff will be of little benefit if you only connect with some of them and leave others confused. You need to incorporate different forms of communication as you train — try a combination of video, audio or written formats, for example.

Here are five keys to successfully train your people, regardless of their learning style:

  1. ‘Hire for attitude, train for skill.’ That’s a quote from author and management guru Tom Peters. It is my experience that trying to change the personality or attitude of an individual is challenging, if not impossible in most cases. You need to employ people with the right attitude and personality – the skills can be taught.
  2. Slow down to speed up. This seems counterintuitivefor most business owners, as they are trying to speed up and get more done each day. However, trying to teach too many things at once will inevitably lead to failure and cost you more time and money in the long run. Train your people in one or two skills at a time, allow them to practice to the point that they can complete the task 70 to 80 per cent as well as you can, and then move on to the next skill.
  3. Check in on progress. Most training in organisationsis done once, with very little ongoing support and follow-up. Whenever you train a new skill, you need to plan multiple check-in points to assess how well that person is executing the new skill, and provide additional training and support as necessary. New skills don’t become habit overnight. They require practice and refinement. The first 60 to 90 days after the initial training are the most critical. Plan for weekly check-ins so you can assess and refine the skills. Remember, it’s not practice that makes perfect — it’s perfect practice that makes perfect!
  4. Implement a simple scoreboard. ‘What gets measuredgets done.’ In order to speed up the process of your people learning and integrating a new skill, you must measure the results of the application of that skill. Simple measures such as ‘time to complete task’ or ‘percentage compliance to the system’ are easy to implement.
  5. Measure progress – theirs and yours.If you do all of the above, youshould be able to observe the person learning the new skills improve as they become more confident and the new skill becomes second nature. If you are not seeing incremental improvements, then you need to assess your training (content and method) and the amount of support you are providing to reinforce the new skill.

This article is an edited extract from The Stop Doing List (Wiley $27.95) by Matt Malouf

Matt Malouf is a business strategist, speaker and author of The Stop Doing List. mattmalouf.com.au