126. The Things They Don’t Teach At Work (part 1)
Two important areas your company is holding you back
My cousin was a dentist for 18 years. It’s my understanding that he was a pretty good dentist.
You know what makes a dentist a pretty good dentist? Lots of clients and a good personality. It has very little to do with actual dentistry, but we will touch on that subject another time.
My cousin had a lot of patients because the thing he loved the most about being a dentist was not the actual dentistry part, but the marketing part. He was really good at attracting new patients and retaining them.
So 18 years into a life of gingivitis, he quit and became a marketer.
Now he makes a darn good living as a kind of HR marketer - he teaches employers how to recruit and interview prospective job candidates.
Truthfully, his time as a dentist means absolutely nothing to my story, I just thought it was an interesting tidbit you might like to know about me and my family.
Yup, you’re welcome.
My cousin has done a Ted Talk, he runs a successful consulting business, he hosts a podcast, he’s written a few good books with catchy titles like “Geeks, Geezers and Googlization”. I’m telling you, he makes a good living by teaching people how to hire.
It blows me away.
Not because of who my cousin is. But because of the need for the specialization.
The Company’s Responsibility
Human talent is arguably the most valuable asset any company can have (an unending supply of flamin’ hot cheetos is a close 2nd.)
A company is only as good as its employees.
It’s a logical conclusion, then, that every company would want to develop employees’ relevant skill sets in order to benefit the growth of the organization.
It seems obvious right? I mean, I’m not crazy, am I?
(don’t answer that)
If you help your employees be better at the things that are most important to the organization, then you make your company stronger.
It’s a guaranteed direct correlation. An easy win-win.
Let’s say, as a for instance, that I owned an auto repair shop. Let’s also say that I had two mechanics and both were really proficient in fixing German cars. They were wrenching rockstars when it came to Audis, VWs and BMWs. We built a good business, the three of us.
But, hey, I want to expand my business. Can we all agree that if I provided education for my rockstar employees and, say, helped them be experts with Japanese cars in addition to their German auto knowledge, that we would all come out ahead in the end. We good with that?
1) They expand their skill set, and
2) I grow my company, and
3) Their expanded skillset and my company growth allows us all to make more money
So explain me this, my friends: why, in the good Lord’s name, isn’t every company focusing on educating employees in areas that are critical to the company’s success?
Maybe I’m looking under the wrong trees here, but I’m just not finding this type of employee education as a central element of most companies’ initiatives.
Let me explain a little bit more. Because if you think your company is doing a great job, I bet I can prove to you where they are lacking.
The Education Is Coming From Inside The House
According to my sports-analogous mind, there are two types of corporate education. There’s defensive training and offensive training.
Defensive training is when employee education is focused on ensuring the employees don’t screw up within the daily ho-hum of their job and end up getting you, their manager, in trouble.
Offensive training is when you give employees opportunities to expand their skillset in ways that benefit both them and the organization.
Most companies I know of focus at least a minimum effort on defensive training. This includes things like:
Cyber security training
Sexual harassment training
Vacation request process
Expense report processes
Which part of the company fridge you’re allowed to place your food
I’m not saying those aren’t good and important parts of work life. They are both good and important. However, they are defensive. Defensive education will not grow your business.
In order to understand the areas where almost every single company is failing, we need to understand the two things that are critical to the growth of almost every company in the world, big or small.
But that’s for next time. The paid subscribers will get that info on Thursday. The rest of you will have to wait until next week.
“Nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day, you bet on people, not on strategies."
- Lawrence Bossidy, Former COO of General Electric
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