Monday, April 27, 2009

Why Training?

I've always been fascinated by training. Every time I go to a class or learn about something new, I immediately want to teach it to someone else. You would think that would have obviously led to a career in teaching or training or some related field. I'm an Application Developer. A computer geek. I write code for a living. So how does a guy who loves being in front of a group talking, teaching and coaching wind up in a job where he sits in a cube writing code?

Jessica, over at Fistful of Talent, has a posting today about "falling into HR". Well, that's exactly how I wound up in IT. I started working as a Rate Analyst for an HMO a couple years after graduating from college. Within the first week my boss handed me a disk with an Excel spreadsheet that was a rate model used to rate small business used various brokers. He asked me to go through it and update it with rates for the new year and make sure that it was secure and locked down. Having very little experience with Excel, I went through that spreadsheet cell-by-cell to figure out what it was doing. The rest is history. I've now been doing application development for nearly 13 years.

The one thing I've done in every job since is find a way to stay in front of a group providing training. I teach first aid/CPR for the Red Cross and have offered up that skill set to my employers to provide training. I've offered to provide basic user training for the various software applications used within the companies. I even wrote a monthly newsletter column for one company. I love training! And it doesn't happen enough. Imagine if the only time your favorite professional football team ever got together was on Game Day. What kind of record do you think they'd have? So why do we do it in business?

Everyone one of us has gone through some form of schooling, training or coaching to get where we are. When was the last time you went back and read those old college text books to reinforce that basic training you had back then? In business we tend to believe that once we've had training we've learned it all. We don't reinforce that training by revisiting it day after day. We did it once, why do we need to do it again. It's like thinking, "I learned how to read a balance sheet in my college accounting class, so I know how to read a balance sheet." That kind of thinking is no different than if Peyton Manning decided that since he knows how to throw a pass, he doesn't have to throw any during workouts. He can just walk out there on Game Day and do what he needs to do.

How did you get where you are? When was the last time you went back to the basics of what you do and relearned it all again? Now, do that daily. That's training!

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