Weary, restless, numb, directionless, uncertain, lost, clueless, afraid were some of the unflattering words to describe my inner state when it came to my feelings towards my business, till about a few months ago. We moved in fits and starts. But lately, the greyness is giving way to colours in various hues. There is suddenly a new found direction and a spring in the rhythm of the organization. I have written about this change in a previous post.
I feel very good. There is a new energy pulsating within me, something which had deserted me for several years. It is in this context that the idea about providing training to our team dawned. I have first hand experience of how training transformed people and an organisation.
I believe that the training sessions that we organized for the managers of First Flight in the southern region in the early 90’s was a turning point in the history of the organization. The managers learned about leadership, working together in teams, planning, measuring performance, the best HR practices, labour laws etc., over a period of several months from LIBA. The classes were held at LIBA, during weekends.
The ideas gleaned from the training were used as powerful tools in bringing about winds of change. The managers gelled better as a team. The new window of knowledge empowered them to think big. They became more confident and evolved as fantastic leaders with capacity to build and nurture teams. The effect of the training was seen in their vastly improved performance at their respective branches and areas. They outperformed themselves month after month, year after year.
The challenges at Service Square are different. The staff who we are planning to train are the domestic house keeping teams, the tele-calling ladies and the office staff. Their education levels vary – some are school drop outs and a few are graduates. Some are hearing and speech impaired. This is a disparate team.
Working with this team and empowering them to believe in their huge potential is the task cut out for the trainer. They have to be exposed to new ideas and ways of bonding together as teams and becoming leaders. Eventually, at least a few of them will have to be taught to function like entrepreneurs. The ultimate goal is to create a world class housekeeping organization, now that we are already the best in Chennai.
In my own way, I had made efforts in this direction. I taught them English for two hours every week, for 6 months, this year. They were picking up well. Yet, sadly, one by one, they dropped out of the class. Mathan told me that they were interested in the classes but not in the homework they were given. I did not press them to continue. But I was disappointed.
And, I had told they deserved nurturing dreams of a bigger life and English could help. They were not convinced.
Though I have undergone a ‘Train the Trainers Course’ course lasting 5 months and am continuing with another training programme on Sundays, I thought I would invite someone else instead to train our team. I do not communicate well in Tamil. Besides, no prophet is recognized in his own place – not that I gave any reason to our staff to believe I am a prophet. And there is the danger of taking things easy in familiar surroundings and not being accountable for achieving results.
That is why I invited Vigneswari to this trainer’s den at Service Square.
The first training programme was conducted from 10 am to 12 noon on Monday, October 14. She got a feel of the team during the 2 hours and made them relax. She spoke about the different types of chains holding people powerless. At the end of the class, she gave them a home work – to find out from 10 people, in their family or friend circle about the dominant positive aspects in each of them.
When the second class was held a fortnight later on Monday, 28th October, a few of them came back with their home work completed. They shared with their team members new, fresh insights and discoveries about themselves. They opened up a lot. They delved deeper into the power within each of them. At the end of the session, I could see a noticeable change in the gait and bearing of our staff.
When Vigneswari met me at the end of the class, she was beaming. She told me that she was now convinced training has the power to transform people. There was conviction in her voice as she uttered those words and I felt happy for her.
I know she will succeed in bringing about behavioral changes within our team. She is enthusiastic about her responsibility. She told me about her plan to learn sign language from a professional school to communicate with the speech and hearing impaired people. She was thoughtful enough to hand out to our speech and hearing impaired staff, photocopies of the content summary she had written in Tamil.
After both the classes, she spent time with me. We shared ideas about what we needed to do to make the training sessions very productive. I understand my role is in creating the enabling climate and environment within the organisation, for people to learn. She spoke to me about envisioning prosperous times, leading to moving out to bigger, more plush office. It feels good to be with her because she has a positive vibe about her.
It is energy that will drive any organization to prosperous and happy times. Energy from the topmost level is the most important component. That is where I have to deliver. Then, there is energy that a good trainer can infuse into an organisation. Great knowledge disseminated within organizations by trainers is source of powerful energy. The returns from training can at times be a thousand fold or much more.
There surely are thousands of organizations and entrepreneurs in Chennai groping for a helping hand from honest and involved trainers. And, there is a dearth of awareness about what these agents of change can do. They can aid in wealth creation in most creative and ethical ways. And the trainers can chart their own destinies, pursuing their most cherished dreams.
The time has come for this idea’s fruition and unveiling.