Super bowl XXXVIII is
now a memory and if your team won congratulations! If your team lost our
condolences but you have satisfaction knowing that your team never let up
and the contest was not decided until the last four seconds of the game.
Not surprising after
the game, both teams, their players, coaches and owners, were commended for
their commitment to teamwork and dedication to building and maintaining a
team effort. Naturally, it was necessary to name a game MVP but we think
many would agree that the team was the MVP in this contest. Teamwork is the
result of training.
How much time and
effort does your department devote to training? Chances are, the answer is
not enough. Even in organizations that are committed to corporate-wide
training, the improvement of credit and collection skills is too often a
secondary consideration. An analysis of training programs Business Education
Services (my organization) conducted during 2003 shows that less then twenty
percent were credit and collection related.
departments don’t mandate more training is due to unsatisfactory past
results. No matter how much training is going on it must be effective. An
effective training program need not be expensive, but it does require
commitment and planning. Training has to be built into the department’s
budget and made a priority. All too often training is treated as a low
priority and is the first item in the budget to be cut or postponed in time
of crisis. Training prepares people to be effective and productive during
times of crisis.
Managers just like
coaches need to be actively involved in the training process. Often is the
case, when we get a request for training the manager leaves it to us to
decide what information should be presented to their staff. Managers should
have already identified the weaknesses of their team so they can communicate
to the trainer what performance they want improved. The coach who complains
that a seminar or training course was unsatisfactory usually is one who has
not fully participated in the preparation of the training material.
How often have we
attended a training function our boss has sent us to only to ask our self,
“what am I doing here?” The information being provided is something we
already know or not relative to what we do. The boss thinks they are
providing us an opportunity, however, they sent us to seminar not knowing
either the content or our deficiencies. Conducting a training session is a
waste of time if there is no follow-up with the employee to reinforce and
help put into practice the skills and practical knowledge they have been
taught. In sports, the coaches work on improving the players’ weaknesses
during the week and then when game day arrives they “test” the players
by expecting them not to make the same mistakes made in the previous game.
Too often participants tell us during a training session “this sounds good
but we don’t do it.” We come away from training session asking ourselves
why did we present material that is not practical. The answer is the manager
left it to us to create an agenda and material that addressed the topic but
they failed to identify if the material met their needs.
At the beginning of
every training season, regardless of the sport, the coaches bring the
players together and begin working on the fundamentals. Every occupation has
a set of basics and as we become more experienced and comfortable in what we
do we tend to forget about the basics. After a while the basics are
forgotten. This is brought about because everyone is concerned with
“advanced techniques.” Probably less than ten percent of the situations
that must be addressed in a credit and collection department require any
sort of advanced knowledge. As a result, a solid foundation in the basics is
critical to the success of the majority of credit and collection department
Training will provide
tangible benefits to your organization and credit staff, but not without
commitment. Everybody is looking for the “quick fix”, but there is no
quick fix. Just ask Bill Belichick or John Fox.
I wish you well.
information is provided as information only and not legal advice.
Legal advice should be obtained from a competent, licensed attorney,
in good standing with the state bar association.