For anyone starting a business, we highly recommend reading Michael Gerber’s The E-Myth. In the book, he tells a story that goes something like this …
The Master Baker
There’s a young woman who loves to bake cakes. Her friends raved about her cakes; they told her that she should go into business. So she opens a little shop. She mixes each cake with tender, loving care. She is meticulous about her craft. And her customers love it!
So they tell their friends who tell their friends. Before she knows it, she has more orders than she can handle! So she hires her first employee. She shows her employee how to make the cakes. Then she turns her new employee loose.
Freedom! Now she has time to work on more important things. But it doesn’t last. Before long, she’s getting complaints from her customers about the quality of her cakes. That never happened before. She’s hearing from her customers that they’re not getting the same kind of service she gave them.
So she steps in and starts closely supervising her employee. But she still has her own work to do. Now she’s busier than she was when she didn’t have an employee. This just isn’t working out like she planned.
Show and tell doesn’t work
So it goes with many of us when we hire someone for the first time. We hire them because we’re so busy. We often find that we spend more time once we have them.
We’re all familiar with on-the-job training. The new employee watches as someone else performs a task. We expect that they’ll just pick it up, almost by osmosis.
There’s a Chinese proverb that says:
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Use this 5-step process
Step 1 – Tell them what they need to do. Explain to them how to do the task, step-by-step.
Step 2 – Show them how to do it. You perform the task step-by-step, talking about it as you progress.
Step 3 – Review and repeat as needed. Keep repeating Steps 1 and 2 until your trainee says he or she completely understands it.
Step 4 – Involve them. This is the part we often forget or pass over. We assume Steps 1 and 2 are sufficient. But they’re not. You want your trainee to actively participate.
So have them tell you how to do it, step-by-step. Then have them do actually do it, step-by-step, explaining the process as they go through it.
Step 5 – Review and repeat as needed. Discuss what went well and what didn’t. Then repeat Step 4 until you’re satisfied that your trainee knows how to do it.
But there’s something you should do before you do any of these steps. We’ll discuss that next Thursday! Come back and see us again!
(Image by Fickle)