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Education: It’s Not Just for Students

(July 2009) posted on Tue Aug 25, 2009

Shop owners who come up with excuses to avoid spending the time or money to properly educate their employees are typically the first to blame their workers for mistakes and lapses in productivity. This article discusses the reasons why you should educate your staff and offers several resources for training.

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By Mike Ukena

For example, since 2000, I have given more than 30 seminars or workshops at major trade shows. I have written as many articles for trade magazines, and I have also offered at least 100 local seminars and workshops—and I’m not even close to being the most prolific in this effort! Attendance at my classes has ranged from fabulous to disappointing. I usually get pretty good attendance at local classes and anywhere from 10-200 at major shows. Sometimes I am pleasantly surprised by a good turnout, which is usually the result of a good combination of show location and a topic that sounds interesting.

I have also seen business owners who I would call enlightened. They buy the whole seminar package at a trade show and attend as many as are feasible. They usually follow this effort up with e-mails and phone calls for clarification. I love helping these owners. In most, if not all, of the situations where I have experienced this level of interest, the owners have pretty successful businesses too.


Where should you start?

The easiest place to start is where you are right now, reading a trade magazine. Most of the magazines in our business offer content in each issue that can be beneficial to your business. Trade magazines are extremely underutilized as a resource. When I suggest consulting an article in a trade publication about a particular topic, I generally get one of three responses: “I don’t think I get that one,” “I think I get that one, but I haven’t had time to read it,” or “I may have read it, but I don’t remember it.” The answers are in order of popularity. I left the rarest question off the list: “Our industry has trade magazines?”

Not only should you subscribe to all of the magazines available to your trade, but you should also spread the wealth. I have seen stacks of magazines in owners’ offices that may have been read by management but never seen by anyone on the production floor. Those are the people who should be reading this stuff. To get the best use out of a trade magazine, try the following:

1. Read it yourself.

2. Staple a routing slip on the cover and include the names of every staff member who you think would benefit by reading something in the issue.


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