Skills Training, Necessary but Not Sufficient

“Look at this,” Phil exclaimed. “We just had the training on this last week. And I just pulled samples from the prototypes. Thank goodness this isn’t a production run. I ought to fire the whole lot of them.”

I winced. “Yes, I guess you could fire them, all eight of them. But then you would have to run the line yourself. I don’t know if you could keep up.”

“You know what I mean. I’m not going to fire anybody. I’m just frustrated. Maybe it’s our training department. Maybe we need to look at the training program.”

“Perhaps,” I said. “You know, when people acquire a skill, I mean really acquire a skill, it takes more than a training program.” Phil looked at me, like I was from Mars.

“When you were a kid, did you ever learn how to throw a ball?” I continued. Phil nodded. “So, someone showed you how to throw, and you threw one ball and then you were an expert?”

Phil laughed. He suddenly knew where I was going with this. “Of course not. I had to throw a hundred balls. I had to practice. My mom was my coach.”

“So, what do you think is missing from your training program?”

Phil’s eyes narrowed. His head began to nod. “Practice and coaching.” And with that, he scooped up the samples, turned on a dime and headed for the production floor.

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