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Distributor's Link Magazine Winter Issue 2016 / Vol 39 No1

14 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S

14 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK Laurence Claus Laurence Claus is the President of NNi Training and Consulting, Inc. He has 25 years of experience with a medium sized automotive fastener manufacturer, holding positions including Vice President of Engineering, General Manager, Director of Quality, Director of New Business Development and Applications Engineer. In 2012 he formed NNi offering technical and business training courses as well as technical consulting, expert witness and consultation work. He can be reached at 847-867-7363 or Lclaus@NNiTraining.com. You can learn more about NNi at www.NNiTraining.com. FASTENER DISTRIBUTORS - ASSESS YOUR TRAINING I just completed three full days of training in central Mexico. I was extremely proud of the twelve young men that attended this session. Although English was clearly not their first language, they remained more attentive and engaged for three long days than many of the classes I conduct to U.S. audiences. It was obvious that they wanted to be there and to learn. As I consider this experience I am reminded of other recent training experiences and how different companies demonstrate their attitudes toward training. In some cases the training is well received and clearly appreciated while other companies seem to be just going through the motions. Training is too important to take for granted and the following six items are presented for consideration to gage your company’s attitudes and training practices against. Culture Is training an important and valued part of your company culture or is it just another activity that feels like someone’s prerequisite? One of the more interesting elements of being a trainer and consultant is the opportunity to interact with many organizations and people. Every new engagement is a little like the excitement and wonder of a child’s first sleep over at a new friend’s house. In the same way that something new and intimate is learned about a friend, so every new engagement is an opportunity to learn about what the company values and how they CONTRIBUTOR ARTICLE approach business. It is readily apparent that companies who value learning and training make it an important part of their DNA. Learning is a critical part of the human experience and comes from a complex combination of instruction, training, and first-hand experience. In fact, training is simply a pathway to learning. It is not and should not be the only method a company embraces to develop its people and encourage learning. It is, however, an important one and a company’s approach and dedication to training will speak volumes about their commitment to developing their people. So what features in a company demonstrate this commitment? It boils down to two primary indicators. First, is there a companywide attitude that there is always something new to be learned regardless of tenure, age, or position in the company? It is important for a company to recognize that their new hires and young people require training and education. However, this should extend to all employees and if these are the only candidates considered worthy of training, the company does not value training in its culture. Secondly, do top leaders embrace and participate in training? If the men and women at the “top” are too busy or “knowledgeable” to participate in and endorse opportunities for learning, the example they are setting will clearly be adopted by others lower in the organization and the entire culture will reflect this. CONTINUED ON PAGE 112

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