In last week’s episodes we discussed a simple tool for measuring expertise – the journey from Unconscious Incompetence (where you’re useless, but you don’t know it) through to Unconscious Competence (where you’re awesome, and take it for granted).
It was a journey that went through Inspiration, Education, and Execution, and it’s excellent for objectively assessing how skillful you or one of your team are in a particular area.
This week we add steroids to the concept: how do we measure ALL of the skills your business needs, across ALL of your team members?
Because if you can do that, then you can build an annual training plan that effortlessly addresses overall business needs. You can push responsibility for skill development back on to individual team members. And you can design a career path through your organisation (and your industry) based on the growing capability an individual acquires – or can acquire, with the right training plan.
Naturally, the coloured chalk comes into play as well.
In 12 years of business coaching, personalising and completing Training Needs Analyses remains one of the most fun and valuable projects I undertake with my clients.
Please watch the video here and let me know if you have any questions.
Who is Jacob Aldridge, Business Coach?
“The smart and quirky advisor who gets sh!t done in business.” Back independent since 2019.
Since April 2006, I’ve been an international business advisor providing bespoke solutions for privately-owned businesses with 12-96 employees.
At this stage you have proven your business model, but you’re struggling to turn aspirations into day-to-day reality. You are still responsible for all 28 areas of your business, but you don’t have the time or budget to hire 28 different experts.
You need 1 person you can trust who can show you how everything in your business is connected, and which areas to prioritise first.
Happy Friday Blackboarders. Last week, we talked about some of the different levels of learning—how to understand for yourself or for a team member, objectively whether they were an expert or an impostor or felt like an impostor in this skill. This week I want to take that and apply that to a broader business use. It’s one of the most common projects that I do with my mid-sized business clients, where we build out a training program for the business over the year and to do that, we need to start with a training needs analysis.
We need to do a couple of things to make that work but it all comes back to having a clear, objective, and consistent measure up to the level of expertise that the individuals within that business had. As a quick refresh of last week, with any skill we start as unconsciously incompetent. We’re useless, we don’t even know it. We get, at some point, the inspiration to understand that skill we become consciously incompetent. We’re still useless but now we understand it. And then we go into the design process. We get educated, we learn more we piece it all together, and now we understand how to do that skill. We become consciously competent.
As we execute that over time, we move to a point where we’re unconsciously competent where we can do that skill that we don’t even need to actively think about it anymore. So when I go into a business, I share that the levels the framework, the conversation we had last week but then we need to define specifically for that business what are the different skills, the different areas that the business may need training in. Now I’ve got for example a template of 32 different business skills that I believe business owners with growing businesses need to understand at least down to level a design or an execution point. But for your business you’re probably going to want to include some technical skills.
At business depo, for example, we want to make sure that the team that need some of the specific accounting, the tax skills, have those levels of expertise. The people who need the advisory the business coaching expertise get that down to depth. So, the second thing you need, having defined these layers, is workout what are all those specific skills. Now I always say to clients do this – the level of detail that feels right for you. As a generalization, I find most businesses come up with somewhere between 15 and 25 skills that they want to assess their team in.
Now some of those are quite big. You might break something like accounting down in a whole lot of different areas and the reality is most of your training and most of the time spent delivering the work from your team is going to be in that skill. But something equally important for the running of your business might be billing, filing, recording hours, training and that is going to take a lot less effort but it’s just as important a skill to have here. Whether you choose to break down or categorize is up to you and what feels right for your business.
Having defined those different headings, you can then go through, and I recommend doing this as a team, getting the team to color it in and I use a couple of different colors, ask yourselves am I actually at that level when it comes to billing? Getting invoices out the door. Do I understand why that’s important? Am i inspired enough to want to know that skill? Do I know what’s involved? Have I been educated? Am i aware of the process? And if pressed, could I write down what that process is and you’ll see I start to color these in and I call these balloons. It’s just another way of engaging the team of interesting in your show, but the more green balloons you have the more they’re going to be able to lift their career, and the more they’re going to be able to lift the business.
So, if you do this across the business, you’ll find the different team members have different skills. Indeed, you don’t necessarily want everyone in the business having every skill at an unconsciously competent level. It may be that you’re always bringing in new people, new to the industry, or graduates into your business they’re often going to have a lot of red balloons areas of expertise that they don’t understand. One thing you can do when you see people coloring in a whole heap of green, assuming your sense check it in there you believe that they are executing that skill well, is you can go these are now the people that I want to run the training program. They’re the ones I want to train the people who need to develop their skills. It’s a way of handing over some of the responsibility from you while also enhancing the skills and capability of those team members, because if you’ve ever taught somebody to drive for example you know that that requires a very different level of skill than just driving yourself.
Lastly, I get all the individual team members to identify either two or three, depending on how many you’ve got, areas where they want some specific skills training. Now when you look at this example you might think, well this person has three red balloons here they need skills and training in that area, but they might fit there and go well that’s an area of the business that’s tax accounting but I’m not interested in at this point I don’t need to know about four years what I actually want to do is really focus on developing those skills. So, getting the team to identify for themselves the training they want, then allows you to go to the fourth step in the process.
So, one define, two list out, three get the team to complete this, and four is then putting together a training program where you’ve got a whole heap of team members who’ve all indicated the same area that tells you that that training in that area is a priority for your business. Where you’ve got maybe only one or two people who said that that’s important to them, then you can start to devolve responsibilities. Maybe there’s an external training course that they could go onto. Perhaps that some self-paced learning that they need to do, or at the very least, as you map out your 12-month training plan, to turn as many of those balloons from red to green as you possibly can. You can say I understand that you want to develop that skill, but holistically when I look at the training needs of the business, that’s just not a priority this year.
Remember great strategy is much about what you say no to as it is what you say yes to. When you run a process like this that involves the team that has some objective measurement and has a bit of fun in color, that you’ve got the team on board for the training program you put out there and the training program you put out there will be so much easier to implement.
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