When I was a young man, I had an opportunity to learn to play music with some real professionals. The people instructing me made a point to emphasize theory study and practical application of what I had learned.
They had me study a bit of material on how to compose and play, and then I had to take what I studied and practice with it until it was well known and the desired result could be produced. This had a profound effect on the speed with which I learned my muscianship and the level of skill that I was able to attain.
I carried this forward into my business career. As a consultant, I have used this principle to take inexperienced employees and bring them up to a high level of skill. In any area that I could oversee, I would have all employees do some study on their jobs, and then I would drill them or see to it that they had some apprenticeship on the functions they had just read about.
This principle sees some limited application in the field of education, but is very, very rarely used in the business world. But if you want to make stable and effective executives and staff, to say nothing of the employees working in the more technical areas of your business, then you need to put in a training program that has the employees read the theory of the job, and then drill and apprentice on what they studied.
L. Ron Hubbard discusses this point in his 12 September, 1970 article, “Training”:
“By actual test and practical experience, a fully trained executive will raise the stats of an organization.
“An untrained executive will depress the stats. …
“If an untrained executive is placed in charge of an organization, it can prepare for losses and can succumb.
“This is a very simple lesson. It is a matter of actual fact, not PR.
“This is shown up well when a fully trained executive is placed in charge of a whole organization.
“It is less visible but just as decisive regarding ANY post.
“An untrained person on a post will be at best somebody not too destructive and at worst a camouflaged hole.
“These are the facts.
“When you do not know this, be prepared to have lots of trouble and losses.”
Every job should be considered to be a profession requiring training so that it can be carried out to professional standards. Professionalism is a viewpoint, and that viewpoint is instilled by theory studied followed by the practicing of the skill until you get the kinks out, and correcting your actions enough until you can routinely get the desired result.
Staff should be drilled precisely on answering the phone, drilled thoroughly on handling the occasional irate customer, drilled on the flows of their operation, and practiced on the job-specific actions of their position. Don’t you make the same mistake as everyone else by omitting these vital skills in establishing an effective workforce.
Don’t assume that those you hire know exactly what to do. Usually the main flaw encountered is not knowing the practical/correct actions in the first place. That, of course, would be Step One and would be part of any professional job description; following that would be the drilling of these actions.
The main point of this article: Drill and practice the actions of each job, correct those actions until they are down cold, and insist your team creates its own view of being a professional, no matter their position.