No Training on Weekends (continued)

As I wrote earlier, my firm doesn’t provide training on weekends. Some of the reasons have to do with the intensity of our training classes. Others have to do with what target audience we want to attract. Our target audience are serious, pragmatic learners. They want to apply what they learned, practically and without much delay, in their enterprise. Weekend classes are not attractive to them.

Another reason is more specific to our content. Among other things, we teach how to balance one’s business’ demand with capability.

In our trainees actual enterprises, the demand comes in several distinct flavors: value demand, failure demand, speculative demand, and improvement demand. The picture of demand composition is usually, of course, more complicated in each specific case, but I’m simplifying it to get to what’s common in most enterprises.

Value demand is what we’re in business for: products, features or professional services our customers requested. Failure demand arises when we didn’t get something right and must fix it: rework, product defects, incidents. Speculative demand is about what our customers might want, but they or we need more information before committing. Think of a roofing company giving you an estimate on fixing your roof. They do it for free or for much less than the cost of the job. And they may or may not get your business. And then, there’s improvement demand: the company needs to improve its processes and staff skills.

The demand usually exceeds capability. Failure and speculative demand tend to preempt work on servicing the value demand. All three tend to take priority over improvement work. One of the key skills we teach in our training classes is how to balance demand and capability and to sustain reasonable levels of service with respect to each source of demand. This is similar to the classic economic problem: allocating scarce resources against potentially unlimited wants.

Our learners leave the room with both motivation and skills to “do something about it.” They also learn that it takes not merely a process solution, but acts of leadership within their management ranks. An important part of that is to stop pretending that the capacity is what it isn’t or that we can attend to some sources of demand and hope others will just go away or that our heroic employees will take care of them.

The question you should be asking me at this point:

“Alexei, this sounds really nice in theory, but if this were to work in practice — why are you teaching us this on a Saturday?”

Exactly. I’d be able to answer your question if I were teaching you a new programming language, a new marketing technique, or a new protocol for some new standard compliance. But you’ve got me with this demand-capability equation.

When you’re looking at one of our training listings and deciding whether to register, your training has already begun. You’re already putting in the mental effort of solving a problem of one important type. You’ll put in more effort and we’ll teach you more in the training room.

See you on Monday.