Reduce the gap between on the job training and teaching

iStock_000044615240_Full.jpg©Tweeter Linder 2016 – All rights reserved. Photo by iStock.

In uncertain and/or fast moving markets you need to learn fast. Your customers face the same challenge and the most valuable role you can play is to help them learn fast. These turn on-the-job (OJT) upside down. Expect both a tight coupling between training and teaching as the way to drive customer value.

The new on-the-job-training reality

Finding the right mix between learning options is high on the agenda in knowledge centric businesses. These businesses strive to optimize between instructor led face-to-face classes, on-line courses and on-the-job-training.

On-the-job-training used to play a key role for phasing in employees in a new role. With the understanding the business already understands what to do. And the challenge is about scaling existing knowledge to more of the staff. The needed experience was clear and what to do to pick it up.

The new reality in the digital economy is employees need to learn on a continuous basis. The most critical learning are more and more related to how the market and the business develops. This learning will come from interactions with customers and rapid sharing of insights.

The need for on-the-job teaching

Selling in the 21st century include a significant teaching element. An In-depth study by CEB concluded 53% of the value in complex sales situations comes from the buying experience. A buying experience where you get rated based on how much and how well we teach. The combination of product, price and brand stand for the remaining 47%. The buying experience comes from your ability to:

  • understand your client’s business situation
  • apply your global knowledge to their situation
  • convey it in a way your clients can learn something from you about their own business.

Design learning for commercial teaching

The time between when you learn and when you need to teach is shrinking. A crucial challenge for businesses is to create a structure reducing the gap from when we learn until when we can teach clients.

With a strong framework in mind already during the learning phase you can prepare to teach as you learn. A framework allowing  learners to structure insights in a way that is independent of the type of opportunity they work with is key. Further it is not realistic to assume all first can learn all things on your own before you can teach. We need to learn from the first learner in our team. How we structure our learning will determine how fast and we can switch to teaching.

The environment where commercial teaching takes place is often 40-60 minutes of interactive session. To perform with predictable results in such an environment you need a well-structured frameworks.  The experiences from working with the 6 steps outlined by CEB will follow in upcoming in a series blog-posts.

Questions for you and your team to work with

  1. How do we capture business insights from our customer dialogues today – aim for a structure supporting an agile way of working upstream from the customer interface.
  2. What is our current framework for converting learning in to teachable modules – structure in capturing insights facilitate teaching.
  3. What type of learnings should we search for – headlines from your main customer meeting agendas are a good starting point.
  4. How fast can you turn around learnings into teachable insights – aspire to reduce the time by 2-4X to increase your competitiveness.
  5. What do you consider the biggest hurdles in embracing these ideas – common issues are poor insights, lack of frameworks and lack of a teaching culture.

Additional reading suggestions

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