Cutting Back: Watching the Waist (Waste) Line


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Performance ImprovementHere we are, heading into the holidays and after 2 weeks of enjoying ourselves, come the morning of January 2nd, everyone will utter the same phrase “I have to cut back”

From drinking, to eating, sleeping, (or not) and of course, exercising, everyone is reviewing his or her budgets and time allocations and making changes

This affects businesses as well. Tis the season where CFOs and GMs look over the end of year numbers and it is very easy to feel the pressure and begin cutting back on items.

In my many years of being involved in the field of performance improvement the worst thing you can do at a slow time of your business cycle is to cut back on the training of your staff. Cutting back on training hampers your team’s ability to be ready when things pick up.

I was fortunate enough to meet and speak with Brian Benstock, VP and GM of Paragon Honda in NY. I heard him speak at the Driving Sales Executive Summit and his speech focused on how Paragon went from the #17 Honda dealership to #1 Honda Dealership in the world in 6 months. The crux of his speech (forgive the paraphrasing) was that he had a change of focus. Instead of continuing to cut back on marketing and training, (being defensive), he changed to a mindset of going on the offensive. Increasing marketing and training.

When I asked him what caused this change, he said he felt that as other dealers were continuing to cut back he was building an advantage. As he increased his spending, he was everywhere from the Internet to traditional media when the customer began researching an automobile. When the customer contacted or came to his dealership his team was well trained and prepared to exceed the customer’s expectations.

Very impressive thought process. Cutting back is not always the way to long term success.

Let’s look at it in a different way,

If your goal was to have a beautiful looking lawn by mid-summer would you:

  • Dump all of your fertilizer and water on the lawn all at once.
  • Start to water and fertilize but if you did not see results right away you stop everything.
  • Have all good intentions of watering and fertilizing the lawn, even buying all the right materials but never getting started or worse, doing it sporadically with no sense of order
  • Take your time and consistently water and fertilize, monitor results and adjust your feeding and watering schedule accordingly.

Everyone would answer the last one. But if I replaced the words “fertilizer and water” with “training” and the word “Lawn” with “employees” could you honestly answer the same way?

Drastic is not good. Slow incremental changes are lasting but it takes commitment

Five Things to Help Train Your Team for the Long Haul:

  • Pick a time each week to do training. 30-60 minutes a week. Small increments are better.
  • Lock in that time as sacred. Nothing gets in the way of the session.
  • Make training fun. Who wants boring training?
  • Get employees involved in what they want to learn each week. It is their session.
  • Set goals and follow up. Without closure, how do you know what needs to be adjusted.

Remember: People will be as excited as you are. They will care about what you inspect not what you talk about

Consistent Training is a cultural commitment and necessary to the health of your business

As we head into a time where you re-evaluate your corporate spending, make sure you don’t cut $$ from what is really making you money. Your employee’s skill set.

Until next time, I wish everyone a very happy and safe holiday.

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Republished with author's permission from original post.


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