“I read the book and followed the instructions.” These words from Samwell Tarly in the third episode of the seventh season of Game of Thrones stood out to me. Sam is a student in a university where he’ll gain an education in medicine, science, and history. In the real world, students gain a general understanding of basic subjects in our school systems and universities.
In technical schools, relevant educational teaching is augmented with specific skills-based training. With the growing skilled labor shortage, figures like the immensely likable Mike Rowe challenge us to shift the pendulum back from pushing everyone to seek a four-year degree to encouraging skills-based training for a large number of students.
On the job – especially in service companies where a lot of training occurs – is teaching about the interconnectedness of every role in the business being skipped in the effort to get people working productively as fast as possible? Are staff members being taught only about the trees and nothing about the forest?
I bet you have a pretty well-defined training program. How much teaching goes on during that program? Do you take the time to teach your employees why the tasks they’re performing are important? Does everyone understand how the quality of their work affects operations, customer service, and overall profitability?
Sam is in a long-term educational program but was feeling the urgency to learn a few skills. He took a simple approach to learning these skills when the structure of the long-term education program wasn’t getting results fast enough – he read the book and followed the instructions. The lesson for us in Sam’s going rogue is to balance teaching and training.
At ServiceTrade we offer both teaching and training. In our blog posts, at conferences, and in The Digital Wrap we teach about the value of customer engagement in a service business. We teach service managers why online engagement is the best medium for informing and engaging customers. We teach business owners how it’s possible to give their customers an experience that has characteristics of the great customer service we all enjoy from Amazon and the convenience we find in the tools from Google.
When ServiceTrade offers training, it is specific task-oriented instruction in how to use technology and our application to efficiently run a service organization, provide helpful information online to customers, and earn more revenue for providing good outcomes for a predictable price. Training takes the form of online courses in ServiceTrade Certification and in live training sessions led by our services team either in person or online. But even our task-oriented training has teaching moments so that students understand the why behind the tasks we’re about to show them how to perform.
You can’t only teach and you can’t only train. Success comes from a foundational understanding through teaching and training specific skills atop of basic learning. Read the book and follow the instructions. Sam is the most unlikely hero, but with the right learning and a surprising amount of courage, he is just that. What heroes can you uncover in your skilled labor when you help them learn?
Looking for a good book to read? You’ll find helpful instructions in The Digital Wrap.