Training keeps things flowing
Ted, foreman for a Washington plumbing contractor, told Session 9 of the Leadership Development Lab (LDL):
“Last month I started working with an apprentice I had never worked with before. We were installing all of the plumbing fixtures at a new assisted living facility. I asked my apprentice to install a service sink and faucet in the janitor’s room. I showed him where the janitor’s room was and showed him the fixtures with all of the accompanying hardware. Then I left him to handle some other tasks that required my personal attention. When I came back to see how he was doing, he was looking at the faucet with a slightly confused expression on his face. This particular faucet actually hangs on the wall. I asked him how it was going and he said, ‘Good. I got the sink installed, but I’ve never installed one of these kinds of faucets before.’ I said, ‘That’s fine. I’ll show you how to do it,’ then I used Turbo’s 3-step on-the-job training process. I talked him through the whole process of installing this particular faucet stepby- step. I told him each step to take as I carefully pointed to the various fixtures and their place on the wall. Then I asked him to tell me back each step he planned to take, the sequence he would follow when he actually installed the faucet. Once I was done, I asked him if he understood how it went together and if it seemed easy enough to do. He said he understood and I let him get on with installing the faucet. This fellow is not a ‘green’ apprentice; he’s been with the company for two to three years. I have installed many of these style faucets and I had assumed he had as much experience with the style as I do.
“The lesson I learned from this experience is that I should never assume anything. Just because I know how to do certain things doesn’t mean others know how. I also learned that I need to ask if others have actually done and know how to do certain
tasks before assigning the job to them. I need to take responsibility for ensuring they are adequately trained to do their job, and carefully explain and show them how to do it if they don’t know.
“The action I call you to take is never assume others know everything you know because there’s a good chance they don’t. When you discover others on your team have not been properly trained in how to do certain tasks that fall within their area of responsibility, carefully train them. The benefit you will gain when you take the time to show someone how to do a particular task with carefully thought out, stepby- step training is improved production. Fixing mistakes costs far more time and money than taking the time to properly train them in the first place. In addition to this, people will appreciate the value you place in them.”
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