Your Firm is Your Wings or Your Drag

Training, education, learning, knowledge, skills, or whatever you call it. If you are a marketing coordinator, a senior manager, principal or CEO, you seek more of this. And, you like to spend your time wisely.

Most of all, you want something of value out of your learning investment. Yet, time and again, you experience little or no change. Don’t you find this discouraging?

The problem is that you learned the theory with almost no application of the skills. Workshop role playing is not the same environment as the real world.  So, what you need is an environment where you can learn in the real world. And, I am going to tell you how you can do this.

First, I ask you to consider this true story.

My Brain was Infused with Knowledge

A decade into my very technical engineer career I took a job with a firm led by an entrepreneur who was also a professor. That was not the reason I took the job, but fate was in the making.

I discovered that the entire environment was supportive of learning and trying new ideas. I recall at least six outside consultants who were brought in by those owners. These persons coached me on sales, on employee engagement, on project management, presentation skills, motivating employees, influencing employees, writing, negotiating, contracts, and financial management.

The point is, it was constant. And, I was nurtured and supported to apply those skills in the real world. In only 18 months after joining the firm, I had blasted through the bookings, profit and customer satisfaction requirements to be elected shareholder. And, I was.

Was this expensive for the firm? You bet it was. But how did that compare to stock that doubled in value every three years? It was chump change.

Why Throw Away Time, Money and Potential Gains?

Think about a professional athlete. To perform at a high level, they make use of one or more personal trainers. Imagine if they tried to design their own work-out program?

Why should you? Why not make it easy on yourself and make sure you’re not only learning, but applying the learning as it was intended– for you to be more successful at whatever you seek.

Comprehensive Programs Encourage Long-term, Sustainable Change

A Harvard Business Review Discussion Group member asked, “Is training worth-while?” The comments posted were from 40 persons across the globe and range from academics, business managers, and management consultants. I have two takeaways.

First, for any learning program to be effective you must have a desire to participate and learn. You do that by placing yourself in an environmental where learning is actively encouraged. By doing this, you will begin to see that you CAN improve yourself as a result of learning.  This perspective of yourself in the world is the real impact; the real value.

Second, set your ego aside and seek lessons from those who have proven their talent on the topic. Don’t just learn the material, practice the material. Find someone you can learn from and who will be available to you as you apply the new skills. Rarely will it be as easy as during the lesson. Real-time support is essential to your adaptation of your new skills.

What is it You Seek More of?

Seek out a trainer and coach who knows the business and will make sure you get there. Here is what a project manager, now an owner and Senior Vice President, had to say:


(Doug’s) largest asset is his ability to blend his knowledge of technical issues with the ‘soft side’ of human interaction and understanding– a skill that eludes many engineers. Doug has been of great assistance to my personal and professional success. 

It is All in Your Control

What is it you are not achieving that you seek? What is getting in the way?

Do you and your firm support my hypothesis? You can be your own wings or be a leader who provides the wings. Don’t be the drag.

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