Whose Bright Idea Is This?

I recently attended in Sydney a leadership seminar presented by Professor John Adair. He was the first person ever to be awarded a chair in Leadership Studies by any university anywhere in the world. I thought he’d be worth listening to. He was. But only thirty-nine other people agreed. There was hardly anyone in the audience.

Late last year I attended in Brisbane a seminar presented by John Maxwell, in my opinion one of the best speakers and writers on the subject of leadership. I thought that he, too, would be worth listening to. I was right. Again, however, the audience numbers were low – under one hundred. There should have been thousands of leaders and would-be leaders at this seminar.

My experience, and from the experience of other training companies, indicates that Sydney appears to have the lowest regard for training, followed closely by Brisbane, but the numbers at both seminars in Melbourne wasn’t much better.

Over the past seven years I have volunteered my time on an industry advisory body. I hear about industry attitudes toward training from several training organisations and institutions. All lament that training appears to be held in low regard.

Hold training in low regard: whose bright idea is this?

Twenty years ago I read some statistics which stated that for every dollar invested in training you could expect a thirty dollar return. Selling fees have increased fourfold over the last twenty years. Nowadays the figure is more like a $100 return on every dollar invested in training.

If I put you in front of a poker machine that was guaranteed to spit out $100 EVERY TIME you inserted a one-dollar coin, how long would you sit at that machine? No doubt you’d be there for a very long time.

Training is your poker machine.

When markets get ‘interesting’ – let’s not use the word ‘tough’ – I see leaders hold their people back from training. Just last week I heard from a Brisbane leader who admitted that his office was on the verge of bankruptcy because his salespeople were not performing. Across the river was a three-day sales seminar, which certainly would have improved the results of his team members, but were any of them at the seminar? Nope.

If his people hadn’t performed in the first five months of the year, why would this leader think that they would perform any better during the three days of the sales seminar? To my knowledge they made no sales in those three days, but even worse they missed a golden opportunity to IMPROVE. Such is this agency’s attitude toward training.

The good news for you is that these people are your competition. The longer they remain untrained, and the more you and your people train, the wider the gap becomes between their performance and yours. IF you value and attend training, that is.

How would you feel if you went to a doctor who qualified in 1960, but who never attended a training course since?

Sure, good training is an expense, but served up to the right people it becomes a valuable asset – an investment. Incompetence is much more expensive.

You do not save money by not training.

You lose money by not training. Lots of it.

So let’s do our clients a favour, shall we? Let’s give them highly trained, competent, and active people to work with.

Do this and not only will client satisfaction skyrocket, but so will your salespeople’s income, and your profits.

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