Trainees should see the big picture behind the mentoring process.From the time I got into this business 43 years ago this month, I have had the benefit of working with many helpful people who have contributed to my career. In turn, I have strived to do the same.

Recently, while in a discussion about individual training and mentoring, I said that when teaching, it is important that the individual in training understand it is imperative that he succeeds, because if he doesn’t, then more than the trainee loses. What the trainee often doesn’t realize is his company loses, too, right down to the department he works for. And, most importantly, the company’s clients lose, too. I don’t think employees who want to get ahead through the education process understand that they aren’t the only one who waste time and money, not to mention the missed opportunities.

No Excuse Zone

Sometimes, the trainee will make excuses for why he didn’t get ahead - often because he wasn’t given the opportunity to learn through mentoring or wasn’t supervised by a more experienced person.  To me, excuses are just bad luck stories that not only don’t solve anything, they most likely don’t change the listener’s mind as to why it happened.
When confronted with excuses, I try and get the trainee to first look within himself. Before assigning blame for training that didn’t go as planned, I always remind him to ask himself, “What could I have done better?” And then follow up with, “Consider yourself as the problem before looking to assign blame or designate the person responsible for not allowing you to succeed.”

For the trainee, the company goal is to invest in this person so that this individual succeeds, and in turn, the company succeeds. Through a company initiative, most results can be cataloged as follows, starting with the trainee:
  • More knowledge;
  • More experience;
  • More professional value to the industry;
  • More personal job satisfaction.

From the company’s point-of-view, they will receive the following:
  • An ROI;
  • A more reliable company representative;
  • A strengthening of the company knowledge base;
  • A satisfied employee.
This win-win or lose-lose effort also affects the company’s clients. An employee who grows technically will inherently deliver a better product to the client: a win-win-win success story. The flip side is that inadequate performance over time does equate to insufficient project performance, resulting in less than satisfactory client approval. Consequently, company-sponsored training program needs to recognize the benefits the clients receive:
  • A value-added service;
  • A quality product;
  • A partnership;
  • A project success story.

No One To Blame ...

For the disgruntled trainee looking to blame someone for his stalled career advancement or missed learning opportunity, think about this: It is the client who pays for this individual’s training because he is paying the company to deliver a quality product using the company’s staff to achieve this goal. Do you think the client is going to be happy to hear it was his fault for the employee’s failure after the client has invested his own funds to receive a product that works, is efficient, and/or meets their business goal? It may be easy to blame your employer, but are you comfortable assigning the blame to the customer who was counting on you to do the right thing?

It is the nature of our business that we all learn, in part, via on-the-job training. If the trainee isn’t getting the job done, then this individual isn’t learning from the job experience. In turn, this costs the company potential profits by spending time educating the individual.

Take into account that the client is the one paying out the funds to design, build, operate, or maintain the project or job. The individual in training needs to recognize he is not only letting himself and his employer down, he is letting the client down.

So, before you go blaming someone else for you missing your educational goals, remember that there are a lot of people counting on you. In fact, if you worked with me and we sat down and discussed your educational growth, you will have heard me say, “I guarantee you will get ahead in the next year to three years, and if you don’t, it will be your fault.” So don’t blame me, the company, or our customer. Instead, make it happen.ES

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