The future belongs to cross-trained teams
Andy, technical superintendent for a paper mill in northern Ontario, Canada, told Session 9B of the Leadership Development Lab:
"On Thursday, February 14th, I called Tom, day shift NSC, and requested permission to train him in how to safely unload a day tender. As I trained Tom, I actually demonstrated the various steps in the unloading of a day tender while describing the steps to him, adjusting all the valves, air lines, water lines, etc. With each step, I included a detailed explanation of why we do it this way, and what the negative environmental consequence would be if any mistake was made.
In our training exercise, I also explained, 'Not only do you need to know and follow all of the steps, you have to stay in the area during the entire unloading' to be sure and prevent, or at least minimize, any potential environmental impact from 'spilling' the clay into our mill areas. I then repeated the explanation of the process to Tom while he made all the necessary adjustments on the valves, air lines, water lines, etc. Finally, during the third time through the procedure with Tom, I asked him to tell me what he was doing, and why he was doing it, as he progressed through the process. Step-by-step, valve-by-valve, Tom proceeded to correctly explain the process as he successfully unloaded the day tender.
When we had completed the training, Tom sincerely thanked me for taking the
time to thoroughly train him. This was very encouraging to me. I believe we both left feeling confident that Tom could do the job, and good about ourselves.
The lesson I learned from this experience is that when I commit fully to all three steps of Turbo's on-the-job training process, the results are positive for both the trainee and the trainer.
The action I call you to take is before you conduct any hands-on training, start by documenting the process with a written, step-by-step set of instructions to support what you will teach. Then, take the time to complete all three steps of the training process. You will walk away from the training session free from worry, knowing that the trainee can do the job successfully, and the trainee will be much more confident of being able to do the job well.
The benefit you will gain is a strong confidence of yourself and others. You will be able to delegate, and not have to worry. People's confidence to complete their new tasks will improve. The confidence of individual employees will then create a confident team that will increase productivity for the long term."
So, who in your department needs to be trained to do a new job, another job, or a better job? When will you start? You will both be glad you took the time, invested the time, to provide the training they need to perform a new job.