Article > Human Resources

Do Preventive Care

By Gerald Wheelus

It doesn't matter how much we train and teach, there will always be imperfection.
Gerald Wheelus
My jawbone felt like it was run over by a big truck. Even though the crater in my tooth was as big as the Grand Canyon and every breath I took felt like an ice pick gouging into it and causing a sharp pain that made me cry like a baby, the pain left behind is worse now than it was before.

What had I done? I neglected a problem. This time, the problem was a tooth, a cavity, to be exact.

I thought I’d done all the right stuff. I brushed my teeth at morning and night but, but the cavity appeared anyway. By neglecting it and neglecting it, the cavity got worse just as our businesses would suffer when we have a less than stellar employee or a bad customer and we do nothing about it.

Imperfections are a way of life. That imperfection doesn’t mean you remove the employee or the customer. Instead, we have to grind and remove the imperfection in them. It doesn’t matter how much we train and teach, there will always be imperfection. But a bit of preventive care can do wonders. If I had let the dentist do the preventive work I needed, I would not be sitting here in pain, just like in the past, I’ve wished I had trained someone better for the job. 

Employees come to us and have no idea what we expect of them. We have to tell them. Training is an investment in our future as much as the employee’s future. As a manager, we have to work with those folks to help us become successful. If we don’t teach them, we have failed them and ourselves.

If you have a “cavity,” ask yourself a few things:
● Did I truly have a training plan for them?
● Did I offer them extra training either on or off the clock?
● Did I do all I could do to fill that void that has become a big cavity?

An employee comes to work for us with high hopes. Perhaps, this person was expected to move in and fill the roll of a long-time employee. During this timeframe we hired three people all within a few days of one another. We hired a winner and two folks who needed time to learn. The winner caught on quickly, learned and ran circles around the other two. 

The problem was not the winner, nor the other two. The problem was us. We failed the other two by not being ready to train them in the way they deserved. People are all different, and it’s up to us to help them develop.

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