31 May 2005|Christoper Ireland

Over the last year, I’ve concentrated a significant amount of my time on training. When you have an organization like Cheskin that constantly responds to market changes, ongoing training is not a luxury. Without it, we’d quickly become chaotic and disorganized.

Initially, I approached this task with some reluctance because I thought of training in traditional terms: mundane, repetitive, the realm of grey-haired ladies in crisp white shirts. I like crisp white shirts, but everything else had to go.

I’m no longer reluctant. In fact, I actually enjoy our training sessions now. For good reason…

This might be old news to some, but I’ve learned alot about training in the past year.

1. One size does not fit all. To train a diverse staff, you need diverse approaches. At Cheskin, we have three: “Feed Me!” distills concise important information about the company in a lunch hour over free pizza. “Blue Light Specials” train people on specific job tasks in 1-2 hours. “Forums” bring together teams and train them on larger topics thru active participation and discussion.

2. Participation breeds acceptance. Although I love the spotlight as much as any medium-to-high ego, I’ve learned that sharing it with the rest of the class makes my job easier and more effective. If I can get a group to debate a topic, they’re much better trained than if I just present to them.

3. A picture is worth any number of words. It’s ancient advise, but too rarely taken in training. If I can reduce a concept down to just visuals, I know it’s much more likely to be remembered and used. Not because I’m training children who can’t read, but because I’m training exceptionally bright people who need to take in complex issues quickly and coherently. Visuals work far better than words for that challenge.

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