You may have heard of a little company called Intel. It's likely you'll use something today that's got one of their microchips at its heart.
Intel's long-running CEO, Andy Grove, must have been pretty busy. But, in his book High Output Management, he dedicates the whole final chapter to 'Why training is the boss's job" explaining how he spent so much of his own management time training staff.
Last week I wrote about your role as a multiplier, working on the things in your agency that enable the whole to be greater than the sum of its individual people.
Andy Grove says a leader has two ways to improve the effectiveness of an employee:
- Increase their motivation
- Increase their capability
Training is obviously top of the list for increasing capability, but it often has the side effect of increasing motivation too.
So why do so few agencies actually do any proper training?
I don't mean giving staff a budget to book on some courses or conferences in their discipline. That's first level. There are four levels, and the other three mostly get missed:
- The professional skills they need for their discipline (can be external training)
- The way your agency applies those professional skills (can only be internal)
- How your agency behaves and collaborates to deliver as a whole, with all the enabling core skills needed (can only be internal)
- How your agency works, where it's going, why and how (can only be internal)
Each agency needs its own 'Agency University' programme and, as the boss, you should lead the way on creating and delivering courses and modules. You should extensively train your leadership team, and probably the next level down too. And you should set the expectation that they train their teams in similar ways. Plus there should be some training that comes from you to the whole agency, and to new recruits.
I neglected training in the early years of my first agency, as I avoided being 'the boss'. But in my last agency, which grew much more quickly and became more successful, we learned to do it. We had quarterly retreats for teams, big annual 2-day training retreats in a stately home, and an hour every Friday morning for the whole company to do a training session, an onboarding training programme, and more.
This week, sketch out a bullet-point outline of what the courses and modules for your Agency University could be. Then decide where to start. You don't have to do it all at once, grow it from a few seeds.
If you don't put this training in place, Andy Grove warns:
Insufficiently trained employees, in spite of their best intentions, produce inefficiencies, excess costs, unhappy customers, and sometimes dangerous situations.
Has your agency ever had inefficiencies, excess costs, unhappy customers or dangerous situations?
Well then, get training, boss!