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Chapter 23. Honing the Team Members' Ski... > Training Tools and Techniques - Pg. 306

Honing the Team Members' Skills 1. 2. 306 Describe what you're going to do. Demonstrate step by step. As you demonstrate, explain each step and explain why it's done (for example, "Notice that I entered the order number on the top right side of the form to make it easy to locate"). 3. Have the trainee perform the task and explain to you the method and reason for each step. 4. If the trainee doesn't perform to your satisfaction, have him repeat the task. If he performs well, reinforce the behavior with praise or positive comments. · Performance.Once you're satisfied that a trainee can do a job, leave her alone and let her do it. The member needs an opportunity to try out what she has learned. She will probably make some mistakes, but that's to be expected. From time to time, check out how things are going and make necessary corrections. · Postwork.The postwork step is important because people tend to change what they have been taught. Careless people may skip some steps in a procedure, causing errors or complications. Smart people may make changes that they believe work better than what they were taught. Although you should encourage your associates to try to find more effective approaches to their job, caution them not to make any changes until they have discussed them with you. They often may not be aware of the ramifications of their suggested changes. Schedule postwork discussions of new assignments three to four weeks after the presentation step. At that time, review what the associate has been doing, and, if changes have been made intention- ally or inadvertently, bring the person back on track. Training Manuals--Gobbledygook or the Real Stuff? Training manuals, or "do it by the numbers" handbooks, are helpful for teaching routine tasks. They make the training process easy for both the trainer and the trainees. Members can always refer to them when in doubt about what to do. Unfortunately, some training manuals are poorly written and as confusing as the instructions that come with "assemble-it-yourself" products made in some faraway country; others are laced with technical terminology that is intelligible only to the engineers who wrote them. Because today's jobs are becoming less and less routine, training manuals are often inadequate-- to the point that they may even stifle creativity. Members tend to rely on the manual because it's easy, rather than think out new and possibly better approaches to dealing with a problem. Heads Up! Too often, when organizations decide to institute a training program, they pull from their files the training man- uals or materials from a program that had previously been used. This is not necessarily bad, but before using existing materials, make sure that they were successful when previously used. Interactive Training Meetings Some team meetings are devoted primarily to training. In addition to the suggestions on conducting meetings made in Chapter 6, special steps should be taken to make training meetings more effec- tive: · Before calling the meeting, assess your training needs to determine which training is better done at a meeting, individually, or by sending the members to outside programs. Discuss this with the team members. Identify their individual concerns. Deter mine which members can be called upon to help conduct the training meeting.