Training - small investment today, big payoff tomorrow.
John, head machine tender for a paper mill in northern Ontario, Canada, told Session 9B of the Leadership Development Lab:
"As I was in the process of doing vacation scheduling, Bill walked in and asked if he could use my computer to do some time entries. I logged in the passwords for him and opened the correct page, then continued to book vacations with another crew member. After several interruptions from Bill asking 'how to' and 'where do I go to', I politely asked him to give me a minute to finish what I was doing and then I would be happy to help him as soon as I was finished booking vacations.
Bill told me that he had received minimal training on the computer and that it had been too long since he had made any time entries. I thought, 'Okay. This is a great opportunity to use the Turbo 3-step on-the-job training process with him'. I could explain and show him step-by-step how to log time entries into the computer. First I showed him how to make the time entry as I carefully explained each step. Then the second time through, I explained what to do once again as he performed each of the steps, and then the third and final time, I asked him to show and explain to me the proper way to do the entries while he actually made them. When we were through, Bill's face lit up as he thanked me and said, 'This is a great way to learn'.
The lesson I learned from this experience is that no matter how busy my day gets, I need to take the time to listen, coach and train any team members who are struggling. The action I call you to take is to take the opportunity to help any associate who needs coaching or training, no matter how busy you are.
The benefit you will gain is you will have team members with more self-confidence. Team members with greater confidence insure you will have a stronger team."
This is the path to break-free performance, sustained gains, and continuous improvement. When every lead, supervisor, and foreman accepts as a part of their job the responsibility of training team members who are struggling in any aspect of their job, you will create breakthroughs and gains that will be sustained.
And what is the rest of the story? The #5 machine in this mill is running at an average production rate of almost 390 tons per day compared to 337 tons per day the previous twelve months. Soft skills, exercised with courage and confidence, something as simple as taking the time to carefully train an associate on a computer application, can help create amazing bottom line results.