- May 8, 2019
- Posted by: David Marshall
- Category: Business, Management
A few months ago, I talked about the importance of manufacturers providing training for their employees, especially if they were adopting new technology and processes. You could send your people off to a training school or your vendor partner to learn the new technology.
Another option is to pay some of your vendor partners to send their people in to train yours. That can even be part of your contractual arrangements. They can train your operators and maintenance people on the actual operation of the machine, how to fix the most common problems, and even be on call to help with problems after the training program ends.
But it’s not just the employees who should participate in training, the managers should be involved as well. They should at least be aware of what the employees are supposed to know, how they do it, and what they can expect. That doesn’t mean the managers need to be as knowledgeable or experts like the actual operators, but they need to have a clue as to what’s going on. So your managers need to train with employees so they can see what the employees know.
We Can Learn a Lesson From Military Special Forces
One thing we’re very fortunate to have in the US and UK is our special forces, whether it’s the United States’ Green Berets and Navy Seals or the United Kingdom’s SAS. These are highly-skilled well-trained people who are totally dedicated to their mission.
One of the precepts of special forces training is that the officers train with the men. There is no separation from each other. It doesn’t matter what your rank is, you train together and you fight together, and it is not uncommon to have a senior rank reporting to a junior rank on a mission.
Pay close attention to that last sentence. There are times a senior ranking member will report to a junior ranking member when the mission calls for it.
In other words, if the specialization of a team member is a priority for the mission, then that team member will become the team leader even though he could be outranked by somebody on the team.
Once the mission is over, they fall back to the normal hierarchy of the military. That’s what makes those small units highly effective.
Adopting this same “train with employees” model in your manufacturing operation can help your associates and managers function at a higher level. This helps you get your people to handle higher-qualified work, because your supervisors and managers will be prepared to help out when it’s needed. It can also teach them that there may be an occasion that the CNC operator is the expert and that they should stay out of the way!
Remember, check your ego at the front door and bring your brains inside is more than just a clever saying, it’s one of my four non-negotiables I have for all of my employees. By adopting this as one of my rules, it’s helped me get the best work out of people by helping managers understand that they don’t have to be — and shouldn’t try to be — the smartest person in the room.
I’ve been a manufacturing executive, as well as a sales and marketing professional, for a few decades. Now I help companies turn around their own business and teach them important philosophies, like why you should train with employees. If you would like more information, please visit my website and connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.
Photo credit: DoD Photo by Glenn Fawcett (Wikimedia Commons, This image is a work of a U.S. military or Department of Defense employee, taken or made as part of that person’s official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain in the United States)