As executives and managers, we are often too eager to point to what appears to be weaknesses and deficiencies exhibited by the members of our staffs, and extol that as our rationale for disciplining, demoting, and eventually firing personnel.  Not so fast.  There is an axiom that we’re forgetting.  “Don’t put the cart before the horse.”  There are some fundamental, requisite things should be considered prior to taking punitive actions against our staffs.  If there is a mirror handy, this would be good time to get it. You see, if you have not fully prepared and trained your staff to handle their daily responsibilities, not to mention the unrealistic goals you have placed on them, you bear a major responsibility in any failures that involve them.  The first step toward building a world class organization is to spend a lot of time thinking about what it takes to build a world class training program.  There will come a time when you have to hold people accountable for their actions, that’s simply not the first step in the process.

To use a sports analogy, which is always risky, I’ll try this.  It would be deemed totally unacceptable for a professional baseball manager to bring in a high school “phenom” and give him 10 to days to prove he could hit at the major league level.  Without playing on a college team, or spending time in the minors, he would have very little chance to live up to his real potential.  Yet, we do that with our staffs all the time.  We diligently ensure that a new staffer, likes their desk, knows how to turn on their computer and knows the way to the cafeteria.  In our minds, that should be enough for them to become experts at that job by next week. After all, that’s how we got ahead.  No one held our hands and look how we’ve turned out.

That’s not how it should work.  Training is a fundamental function of business that is as much a part of the “success factors” in business as anything else.  The only thing you have to really remember is “Don’t put the cart before the horse.”

Lewis Parham
Writer’s Cramp, Inc.