Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Lack of Training can be Fatal to your Managers

I will start this post out with a story.  It is fictional and any similarities to real life people is simply in your mind!  J 

Oliver is a recent graduate in management with an undergraduate degree.  He goes to work for a small company with a total of 6 employees.  He does extremely well as a salesperson and quickly shows his value to the sales-dependent company. In time, the company hires a couple more salespeople and within a year, they decide that they need to have someone manage those other salespeople.  The company has grown to 15 employees, and Oliver is selected to manage the “growing” sales team” of 6 sales people.  The company is out of business within the next 6 months.  What happened?

This story is exaggerated and could lead to a number of reasons for going out of business.  Since my blog is on business best practices particularly as it relates to management my thoughts will be focused on inadequate management training.

Most small businesses today are not unlike the story above.  They do not have the infrastructure to have training and development programs on site.  Often times, they do not think in the long term about what needs to be done and ultimately fail.  In the case of poor Oliver, he was quoted as saying “what I learned in College was all I needed for success.  I proved it in my first year, I know how to manage myself, but they (sales people) didn’t care.  I was successful...I am not sure why they weren’t listening to me”.  Oliver was doomed from the start.  He didn't realize that he had to learn new skills to be a manager and the small company failed in providing him the necessary training.  

In some cases, companies think of management training as HR related complying with workplace issues such as conformity, administration and harassment.  They may also focus on other areas such as finance, forecasting and budgets.  The MAJOR lack of training by most companies is PEOPLE management training which is key to long-term success!

How to fix this problem?

Pre-Promotion development ~ If at all possible, employees should be developed prior to being considered for advancement.  Most larger organizations have formalized management development programs in place. The resources spent on T&D oftentimes is the difference between long-term success and failure.  If you do not have the funds, staff or knowledge internally you will need to go to external support to adequately train your managers not only on workplace rules but “people skills’ such as coaching, leadership, delegation, hiring, conflict resolution, disciplining, presentation skills etc…

Core curriculum ~ Using either internal or external consultants, set up a syllabus of important “people skills” seminars that will be conducted on a regular basis.  Some of these will be mandatory and some will be for advanced learning.  The idea of a syllabus is so that classes can be changed as needed to accommodate changes that are evolving over time.

Gain ideas from business best-selling books ~ Too many books to mention, but anything from Brian Tracy is a good start. Perhaps if feasible you could have a journal club started to discuss the takeaways and best practices from selected books.

Research business periodicals ~ Harvard Business review articles as well as many others are great case study reports.  You could set up a conference similar to the manner described above.

Browse ideas on the internet~ There are wonderful blogs on the internet about successful business practices and management ideas.  Most authors of these blogs have many experiences which can help develop skills necessary for success.

I hope that this "lights a fire" for the need to constantly upgrade the skills of your managers!  if you have any ideas to add, please share.  Thanks and have a super day!

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