Train by example

Jul 26, 2010

You can talk about training all day long but when it comes to management training, there is no substitute for having your managers train by example. Let’s look at some common problem areas in A/E/P and environmental firms that we actually spend training dollars when a powerful example would go so much further: How to use the accounting system to track project budgets and more. You can have classes all day on this stuff but if the principals never even read a project report, why would you ever think that the rank and file project staff would do so? Principals need to use the system and if they do, other people will quickly realize that this is important and do so themselves! How to fill out a time sheet properly. If I had a nickel for every dollar A/E firms spend trying to get their people to fill out time sheets the right way, I would a rich man today! This is a constant recurring problem in our industry. But the fact is, the real culprit is principals and managers who don’t fill out their own time sheets properly— or on time. If they can’t set the example, why would anyone else do what they are supposed to? How to build a long-term relationship with a client. This has to be demonstrated by the principals of the firm. If they cannot maintain long-term relationships with their own clients, no amount of classroom training will make it happen. How to sell a job. You want to train your people in how to sell? Fire the sales trainers and instead show your employees YOU can sell. There is no better way. Training by example works! How to get paid for extra services. This is a common problem that is almost always touched on in any formal PM training efforts. But the bottom line is PMs will not ask for extra services agreements unless the principals and managers they work for do it themselves. How to do a performance appraisal. I always thought it was ironic when firms gave formal training in how to do performance appraisals to their managers who were waiting to have their own performance appraisals given to them— yet this is the norm in A/E firms. How to be responsive. Is it any wonder that employees aren’t as responsive as they should be when the principals and managers themselves don’t think it is imperative to return phone calls and e-mails immediately? Training by example is the only way! Originally published 7/26/2010

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Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.