Your highest cost—a poorly trained team.
My 66-year old brother, Bill, just rode his bicycle from Brownsville, Texas east to Florida, up to Ann Arbor, Michigan, and then back to Spokane, Washington. This was his second year to accomplish this feat. He took a little different route than last year. Both trips were essentially the same length, a little over 3,200 miles. Bill was featured last year at the end of his ride in the Spokesman, Spokane's newspaper. This year, as he was leaving, his Texas home, he was featured in the Brownsville Herald.
Our sister-in-law, Judy, follows Bill in their 25' camper. They have breakfast together, and then Bill starts off on his morning ride. Later Judy leaves to find a good place to stop for lunch. They have lunch together and Bill takes off again. She goes on ahead to find a campsite for the night. This has been their routine the last two summers. They have learned how to do all of the essential things necessary to make their summer routine a joyful success.
On his way from Spokane to Portland, Bill stopped by the Flying J Truck Stop to get propane for his camper. The young man who helped him was very courteous, called him "sir", then asked him several questions about his use of the propane tank. The answers to some were pretty obvious. Before he attempted the refill procedure, he actually asked Bill to sign an authorization form. Bill said as many times as they have refilled the propane tank, he has never had to sign a consent form. He watched the
young man try to unscrew the propane tank connection. He struggled and struggled. Finally, in desperation he said, "I think I need to go get a stronger wrench". Bill was pretty sure he knew what was wrong and asked, "Do you mind if I try it?" "Okay, I don't mind at all". Bill gave the wrench a turn to the right. Propane tanks are left-hand threaded, and it came off easily.
Here's another example of someone who's courteous – we all like courteous treatment – someone who knows the bureaucratic rules for the legal sale of propane, yet he didn't know the most fundamental part of his job – he didn't know how to detach the propane tank so it could be refilled. Who's fault is that? Not his. He was sent to do a job but never trained how to do it. How often does this happen? More often than most managers know or are willing to admit. By brother and I speculated about whether or not he would remember how to remove the next propane tank that comes along. I'm not sure. What I am sure of is that until anyone is properly trained, and that requires more than telling someone what to do, managers can't expect them to perform their jobs successfully. The costs connected with asking people to perform tasks that they're not adequately trained to perform remain uncalculated; wasted time, embarrassment and redundancy. Customers who are dissatisfied are only one of the high costs of inadequately trained employees.
OPEN CLASS ~ JANUARY 2010
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