Respect Learning Styles
Lisa, corporate finance director for a commercial heating and air conditioning service contractor, told Session 9 of Turbo’s Leadership Development Lab (LDL):
“For years the task of setting up our new service contract agreements has been shuffled from one person to another, without ever coming into the hands of the one employee who, by virtue of their title and tasks, should be the one to actually do it.
“This employee is the type of individual who works very methodically, schedules her tasks for specific days of the week, and paces herself based on her workload. The worst thing you can do to her is dump an unplanned task on her desk.
“I made the decision about eight weeks ago to move this task ‘officially’ into her job description. What’s in it for her? I centered it around her desire for a modified work week. She wanted to work four days a week, and since we were re-writing her job description to fit into a four-day work week, I decided to take the opportunity to officially add new service contract agreements to her job description.
“Because of her highly structured approach to tasks, the first step in her training process involved a one-on-one conversation as a part of our regular weekly meeting. The first thing I did was discuss with her why we were moving the task to her. I wanted to be sure she saw all the benefits she would gain from taking on this assignment.
“The next week, I brought in copies of forms from an agreement I had set up the previous week, to use as a training tool. Using the copied forms, we set up a ‘dummy’ agreement. I walked her through the steps involved, explaining the what, why & how to of each step. We color-coded
the important input fields, and she made detailed notes.
“The next week, I brought in three actual new agreements. She pulled out the screen shots and her notes from the previous week’s session, and commenced to set them up, while I observed and answered her questions. After we finished the first one, I asked her if she wished to do the next one solo, or have my help. She replied ‘I have good notes, and am comfortable enough to do it on my own.’ I said, ‘Great!’ The next one she did entirely on her own, and I then reviewed her work after she was finished. As always, her work was spot on!
“The lesson I learned from this experience is when I respect and understand an employee’s preferred learning style while applying Turbo’s 3-step approach to on-the-job-training, they will be engaged in the learning process. They will get it and be empowered through the process.
“The action I call you to take is to understand what your employees need to be enthusiastic learners. The benefit you will gain is enthusiastic, informed, engaged employees! You will increase accuracy, speed up the learning process, and continuous improvement will be the reality of your organization.”