This weeks reading, “Learning and Developing from Managerial Work Experiences” by Julia Davies and Mark Easterby-Smith, really got me thinking about the concept of training. We were thrown into this simulation holding all of this power over our company and what did we get to prepare. We got SoloMike, some manuals, and a few rounds of practice. I would say that is pretty equivalent to what you could consider training for a job. One of the observations made in the article was that the managers, when asked about what they thought has helped them to develop, never cited training as a reason (Davies & Easterby-Smith, 1984). So how important is training? How important was it for me to put in as much time as I did trying to understand SoloMike?
Having observed and really started thinking about our training for this simulation and thanks to this week’s reading I have started to learn something. I believe training is not all that crucial to how you do in a position, but it is beneficial to how you look back on what you have already done. For example, I worked at a retail store for a summer and was told they had excellent customer service and great employees and a lot of it has to do with their training. Well I obviously went through their training process, and as I was going through I could not understand how anyone could say that this was all that meaningful. The training did not change the way I ended up treating customers and behaving as an employee; I would imagine that my first day on the floor I would have behaved in exactly the same way whether I had gone through their two days of training or not. The training itself had not helped me develop in that position. When I did see it have an impact was once I had been working for a while and I did some reflection. My instincts in terms of helping the customer only a month in were vastly improved and I thought back to the kinds of things I had been told were important in training. Based on the things I had been told in those first few days I could see where I had naturally developed into their expectations and where I still had room for improvement. It was as if training had not shaped who I was and how I was going to behave, but had given me a benchmark to see how I was fitting into the ideals of the store.
To bring it back to MikesBikes I think now as my team struggles, we need to look back on those manuals and our SoloMike and practice round experiences and see what we are doing differently, where we have strayed from expectations, and see how we can use those observations to get ourselves somewhat back on track.
Davies, J., & Easterby-Smith, M. (1984). Learning and developing from managerial work experiences. Journal of Management Studies, 21(2), 169--182. doi:10.1111/j.1467-6486.1984.tb00230.x