Does group learning really work? Yes!
But, there are some things that need to happen to get the outcome you desire.
Group learning can work if you’re willing to work.
I learned that a long time ago. And I learned that when I’d go off to association training and trade classes that if I committed to setting aside thinking about my business while I was in class the learning was best. Plus, I learned that my being willing to roll up my sleeves and participate when the opportunity presented itself meant real benefits to the group learning experience.
I found being around other like-minded contractors (especially when they weren’t my direct competitors) determined that I learned way more than I could have by either reading a book or going online to learn. Don’t get me wrong. There are times you do need to do individual learning but it has its place and its limits.
There’s real energy when a group gathers to all learn. The learning can be enhanced by connecting with a group because we’re social animals after all and we like being part of a pack.
That said going for group learning worked best for me only when I made a list of my goals and my objectives for the training and meetings I was going to attend. The results in a group setting for me and those I’ve taught who have shared with me is that the results were always better and long lasting than just solo research and learning.Read More
“That Tech has a bad attitude.”
“I don’t like the attitude of our bookkeeper!”
“What’s wrong with the attitude of our dispatcher?”
Bad attitudes are everywhere, it would appear.
In most cases, nothing, other than your opinion, that is. An opinion, by the way, that that colored by your attitude toward others! In fact, my new favorite saying is, “I see what I believe” not the old (and incorrect) saying, “I’ll believe it when I’ll see it.”
As owners and bosses, we’re quick to judge. It’s what we do. We compare people to some fictional version of how we think we were when we did their work. The part we leave out is that our vision of ourselves, especially as times goes by, is akin to the fish growing larger every time the fish story is told!
No, you couldn’t put a water heater in by yourself in one hour. Nor could you install a new heating system by yourself in two hours. You didn’t carry that giant hot tub up four flights of stairs by yourself and install it in an hour, either. And when you were up to your elbows in grunge on a job, or a customer groused at you, you may have come back to the office a little grumpy, too!Read More
Resistance—I get a lot as an industry consultant but when it comes to convincing a contractor client of the importance of training, resistance is something I can bank on.
I listen politely as they recount a bad experience or two they have had because they invested in someone who then left the company and went work for someone else—usually a competitor.
After a few minutes of this, I interrupt them and address the elephant in the room: “So, what you’re asking yourself is, ‘What if I train them and they leave?’”
My reply, the only one that makes any sense, is, “What if you don’t train them and they stay?”
The next thing I typically hear from the owner is, “Darn it. I know you’re right and I hate it.”Read More
Stop me if this sounds familiar:
In the job interview, the candidate told me they could do it. Who knew that they couldn’t? Me!
I got blindsided by this so often in my contracting life. Looking back, it’s easy to know why I didn’t know what they could really do and not do. I hired out of desperation.
Here’s the reality. Sometimes, an employee would give us two weeks’ notice that they were leaving our company. And that was okay. Sometimes, we’d get one week’s notice. And that was tolerable. Sometimes, they’d just leave the keys to the truck in the front door mail slot and leave a note attached to their keys that they were gone. And that was bad.
It was really bad because we were always busy and needed everyone to be onboard. We were in the lucky position of having more work at our company than bodies to get the work done. I say “lucky” because we were able to charge the right price and be more selective about whom we did and didn’t work for and the type of work we would and wouldn’t do.
Yet again, it was a problem because we were always in reactive mode when it came to staffing.
How bad was this approach to staffing? My brother, Marty, called our hiring test “The Mirror Test,” which sarcastically meant that in our desperation, all you needed to do was fog the mirror and there was a good chance you could be hired. We were of course kidding….sort of, anyway.
Well, something had to give, and finally it did.Read More