Why do we all need regular training?

There are groups of businessmen, professionals, managers, executives, housewives and individuals who regularly go and learn many new things. They attend various courses at universities, institutes, workshops, seminars, lectures, conferences etc. On the other hand, there is a much larger group of similarly occupied people who don’t believe in getting any training. Their argument is : “Now at this age and stage what is the use of training? Our days of learning and education are over when we finished our school/college. Now we have passed that age of learning. Now is the time of working, working, working. No learning.”

Should people in business, profession or job go and try to learn something new? Is training while working useful Does it add any value to a person’s abilities or performance?

Based on my own personal experiences and those of many others, I firmly believe it does. Regular training shapes and reshapes a person’s individuality like nothing else can. On-going learning process brushes us up and enhances our knowledge, skills and attitude, preparing us to take on bigger responsibilities and challenges.

Here is my argument why we all should keep learning. Always.

A typical year in a school or college has around 200 days of education. Let us assume that a graduate spends 15 years in school and college. This results in about 3,000 days of education and training. These are the formative years of our life and they build the foundation of our future. But, for most of us, real, hard, practical life does not start until we complete our studies, as we are safe inside protective shell provided by a family that takes care of all our needs.

Once the education gets over, a person enters the phase of work life. Along with the freedom to make own decisions, the responsibility to take charge of one’s own life also arrives. Real challenges of dealing with people of different types, circumstances, emotions, deadlines, stress start at this stage. In addition to the work life, a person also gets married in next few years, which brings its own demands on time, adjustment and adaptation due to changed roles and increased responsibilities. Eventually, their family expands and challenges multiply even more.

But during this expectable and natural process of changing life stages, a person generally does not have any formal or structured training to guide him/her. Whether it is a challenge at work, a problem about self-esteem or confidence, handling failures or issues in relationships, there is no obvious source where one can approach for help, forcing them to fend for themselves. Due to all this, one makes a few mistakes along the way. And hence, a lot of problems, frustrations, disappointments and confusions happen, deteriorating quality of life and mental peace. It may also result in sometimes irreversible physical health problems.

Of course, we do learn from these mistakes also, but learning from only our own mistakes limits our pace of learning to a great extent. Moreover, this limitation was earlier posed because of limitation of exposure and interaction. Now, the world has become a smaller place and there is a lot of sharing possible among people of the world. Training lets us learn from others’ mistakes also. That is a faster and smarter way of doing things in the new world order.

So, what is the solution? There are no fixed, ready made solutions to all the problems that our personal or work life poses. But, in order to equip ourselves for handling these problems, we must learn new things on a regular basis. In today’s time of rapid technology changes and fast moving trends, there is no alternative to equipping ourselves of relevant knowledge and skills. Also, the routine of life and its peculiarities, may take a toll on one’s attitude, motivation and enthusiasm also. To overcome this drain, we all must get involved with others and attend various training programmes to improve our knowledge, skills and attitude.

If we are ignorant, we may bask in the feeling of bliss, but we will have to depend on others for knowledge and skills to solve all our own problems. Outsourcing is a good management practice, but there is always a context. Nothing can be applied blindly without understanding the context. And for making sense of context, we need to go and learn. It makes a small but very important difference.

How to execute? These ADMI students can teach us.

Well, ADMI stands for Alkesh Dinesh Modi Institute for Financial And Management Studies. I attended an MTHR Global event hosted by ADMI at its beautiful auditorium within its vast facility inside Mumbai University campus on Saturday, 27th August, 2011.

On that day, whole Mumbai woke up to a rain-drenched daybreak due to incessant rain since previous night. The morning was no better. After a brief respite, the very heavy downpour had restarted. All the planning for the whole event was facing a possibility of complete failure, because of the heavy rain. But the event went very well, despite all the natural odds faced. It was all due to the great work by the management students of ADMI. Their work on that day was in true sense exemplary. Following are some of the very obvious things which made this challenging success possible.

Plan… Plan… Plan… : As one entered the venue, it became clear that the entire event was meticulously planned.

  • Right at the road leading to the campus, ADMI student volunteers were standing to guide the participants, expecting the question marks on the faces of the visitors looking for the directions and guiding very promptly. Signboards at all turns helped one reach fastest.
  • All the volunteers were given clear roles and responsibilities and the whole schedule of the day and arrangements were well-planned.
  • In fact, the event was planned and executed just like an event management company might have done it (after charging a few lakhs of rupees, of course), but these young people did it themselves, with meagre resources.

Team work works : The entire team of students worked as a single unit. There was continuous interaction and communication among them, as the day progressed and newer challenges kept coming. They solved all challenges by being together and working in unison. There was no boss here, but I think it did not matter, the event was the boss and they respected and responded to its demands…!

Pour your heart into it : Whatever they did they did wholeheartedly. Their complete involvement was inspiring.

  • Every guest was respectfully escorted with umbrellas in the heavy rain.
  • All the needs of the guests were attended to promptly with smile, respect and grace.
  • When the guests entered the walk ways which had become slippery due to rain, these boys and girls politely alerted the guests to take care. I was alerted at least 10 times during the day, by different people, every time, just in time to prevent me from falling…! So were other guests.

Enthusiasm is infectious : Despite the inclement weather and the innumerable and unexpected challenges thrown by it, these boys and girls performed with alacrity. Their enthusiasm was rubbing off positively on each other. This enthusiasm kept them up and running throughout that rough day.

Empowerment gives powerful results : The young students did not have many resources at their disposal, but they operated perfectly in spite of those constraints or limitations. One of the reason for their excellent output was the powers and freedom given to them. They did not have to go to anybody or ask anybody while fulfilling various needs and requests of the guests, some of them may be unexpected, but came because of the rain. They took instant decisions and did whatever was possible to do. The credit for this perfect empowerment must go to their director and the placement officer, who were representing the institute administration at this event.

Take on a crisis as a challenge : Any planning could have gone haywire on that day, due to the very difficult rain conditions. The guests could not reach in time, the speakers were stuck due to rain, the food to be served was two blocks away, and the rain was pouring like cats and dogs. These ADMIs took that all in their strides and did whatever was needed. They converted this crisis into a challenge and overcame it.

It made me thinking : Money may be able to buy many things. But, can it bring in such remarkable enthusiasm? I think, it is difficult to buy. And the organization which has such ADMIs inside it, can overcome any challenge, natural or otherwise. I thank the students of ADMI for showing us the way to perfect execution no-matter-what….!