10 Processes For Organizing Your Team’s Training
Training is a form of singularity. Get it right, and you get everything right. A rabble of peasants turns into an army of knights. Because training is learning, and if you can learn how to learn, then you can get yourself out of any problem.
But training is process intensive. It’s not just that training itself takes time, it’s that preparing to train — organizing the training — is a full-time job, and is not the manager’s sole responsibility.
That manager who wields Invisible Technologies extends the span of control, becoming capable of systematically advancing the whole team. All of her reports grow steadily under her supervision.
Every new hire not only needs onboarding to be properly set up, but an orientation to become familiar with how the company thinks, makes decisions and operates.
Your S.I. can be extremely thorough about this. For managers, you can program your S.I. to walk new hires through any documentation that everyone needs to know — like your company’s vision, mission and other narratives, policies and protocols and strategy.
For new hires — it’s even better. Ask it any question you like. It’s a newbie’s best friend. No more feeling silly about asking distracting questions!
Over time, your S.I. will develop a set of Frequently Asked Questions that then become part of the standard orientation documentation.
Managers review their reports on a regular basis, so they know where they stand. Feedback begins even before they join the company, during the Hiring process. Once onboarding and orientation is complete, your S.I. will schedule time for each new hire to sit down with their manager, review the evaluations, and set expectations for the next performance review.
Your S.I. runs the performance review process for both sides. As a manager, your S.I. will remind you to evaluate each one of your reports on a regular basis. If you don’t already have an evaluation framework in place, your S.I. will work with you to define a set of questions to structure the feedback. As an apprentice, you will be invited to analyze each piece of feedback, clarify take aways and patterns, and implement any improvements you think of.
Everyone is on the same page; working off the same files — engaging with the same framework.
Your S.I. plays a key role in making sure that expectations are clear. Reports receive questions like, “How do you expect your role will evolve over the next six months to one year?” Managers get asked, “What would it take for you to trust this report more, and if you did, what new responsibilities would you give them?”
If there is a promotion framework and schedule, your S.I. can set it up and run it — making sure meetings and decisions happen on time. If promotions are as-needed, your S.I. leaves the timing up to the manager, but still keeps expectations in sync.
Qualities are an evaluation and coaching framework for managers to assess whether their team members embody the company’s values. Every quality is paired with a value.
Courage, for example, is a quality. Your S.I. can administer a test (below) with a series of questions you’ve designed to test for this. Or your S.I. can just walk you through writing an evaluation on the basis of your direct observations as a manager.
Once you’ve established a baseline score, your S.I. will schedule your next evaluation, so that you can track improvement in each quality over time. In between tests, your S.I. will offer to schedule coaching sessions (below).
Skills are another evaluation and coaching framework. Most skills are functional—and can be taught in a training session (below). Tests can measure improvement in each skill over time.
Every skill is paired with a task. To build a skill taxonomy, your S.I. will use your task delegation history.
Training sessions teach functional skills. Coaching sessions focus on character qualities. In between evaluations, your S.I. will encourage Managers and Reports to schedule sessions to improve their scores on each metric.
Managers can assign reading and writing assignments, and other training-specific tasks that don’t relate directly to company projects, but which increase alignment and learning. Each assignment can be paired with a test.
Administering tests is a superpower. A test can be as simple as a single question, or as advanced as a sales quota. Qualitative or quantitative, in writing, visual media, live — tests are flexible. The format is up to you, and so is the evaluation framework.
But tests provide legitimacy to management decisions that intuition alone cannot. Whether you’re deciding whether to promote someone, or give them additional responsibilities, or evaluating how well they embody a quality or have mastered a skill — tests ground your impressions in a transparent and rigorous framework.
Product Managers, Engineers and Designers write tests to make sure that their products work they way they expect them to. But test-driven development principles can be applied to every aspect of life and business. If you want to know that everything is okay, then inspect what you expect — it will give you peace of mind.
9. Knowledge Base
Over time, even experienced practitioners find little tips and tricks that make them better. But if these aren’t shared within and across teams, then the company misses out on efficiency gains — gains that really add up. Your S.I. can surface these best practices, set up and maintain the knowledge base, and make sure that everyone is benefiting from these insights!
Tired of repeating yourself in coaching sessions? Provide recordings of past coaching sessions to new team members as a reading assignment.
The trainer’s ultimate challenge is to train a team that is always improving. To grow, relentlessly, in every dimension — that takes work. A coaching session here and there won’t cut it. You have to become systematic. Background processes need to constantly be working on your behalf to keep you and your team on track — focused.