Teach someone something every day!!!

Posted by on Oct 21, 2011 in Facilities Management, Leadership, Training | 0 comments

I have worked in the nuclear industry for over 20 years and one of the major tenets of the industry is training.  We train you when you first get here, we train constantly while you’re here, and we train you when anybody learns anything about anything relevant.  Needless to say, all this formal training costs.  It is not uncommon for the training budget to be one quarter of the operational costs of the site.  Training is mandated by law, regulations, and good practices.  After all who wants people operating nuclear power plants who are not properly trained?

With all this training I had the opportunity to work with some of the highest trained and operationally ready people in the world.  It was a wonderful experience.  I support and believe that the consequences of failure demand this type of training routine and program.

Most mission critical facilities organizations cannot afford to support this type and level of training. That is the hard reality of economics of our industry, so what can we do?

While I have never had the budget or resources to approach the level of training that a nuclear facility would have, I did come up with a way to significantly supplement the training program.  I required every manager, supervisor, or shift lead to teach someone something every day.  This idea became a formal requirement of every manager, supervisor, or shift lead and a part of their evaluations.  

What you teach is up to you.  It is preferred that lessons relate to something about the site, systems, equipment, process, or maintenance/operation techniques, but in reality the requirement is just to teach (regardless of the topic).  It doesn’t have to be formalized training, but it does have to occur.  There are great rewards for doing this:

  1. Leaders must learn something enough to teach it – their knowledge base grows.
  2. Leaders as they teach gain respect of others by virtue of their knowledge and skills.
  3. The general knowledge base of the entire organization grows, making the entire team more valuable.

This behavior must be reinforced by the management and they should demand to know what has been taught in random checks.  As this behavior becomes an organizational trait, new leaders will be expected to do the same and non-leaders will want to imitate this behavior as one that will get them noticed for promotion.  In this way you create a natural learning organization.

As always comments and suggestions are welcome and encouraged.


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