Forethought and Training Makes Managers

Senior management in every industry is well-known for setting-up our best skilled workers for failure. It is as if we are specifically trying to sabotage our own companies by reducing the workforce skill level and using poor management to try to fix it. A fancy new title and a raise does not a manger make. A top-notch management selection process and training program is the only road to ensure future success.Leaders Make Great Managers:The best worker does not make the best manager, the natural-born leader does. Though scholars continue to argue the finer details, it is widely accepted that “leaders are born and managers are made.” Leaders are followed. The directives of Managers are carried out. The Leader is the person spreading news from the grapevine, teaching trade tricks, and from whom co-workers seek advice. At breaks, the Leader can be found telling “there I was” stories with an attentive audience and organizing the weekend fishing trip or bar bash. The Manager is the person given that title by executives to be in charge of people, projects, and money.In theory, anyone can be taught to manage well. Managers can be taught efficiency, organization, project flow, and even to earn the respect of those they manage. Managers, as the theory goes, cannot be taught how to lead. Though it is possible that the best worker is also a natural leader, this is rarely the case. Instead of looking to the firm’s best workers to serve in open management roles, consider promoting and training the natural leader. Management selection processes should begin pre-hire with an eye on identifying potential leaders. These employees should then be observed in their current role for signs of leadership and future advancement.Tiered Management Structures:Think large when developing the structure of management. All large companies were once small. So, instead of waiting until the company is large and then having to revamp the entire reporting chain; develop the structure at the outset. It is better to have a structure with unfilled positions, or those not currently needed in the smaller organization, then it is to remodel the entire structure at a later date to adapt it to the growing firm.In some industries, the lowest level of management is the Shift Manager, Department Director, or Section Chief. In construction, we refer to this position as Foreman, Job Supervisor, or Superintendent. Each firm must chose these titles carefully and the reporting hierarchy with which they are associated. For the purposes of this article, let’s assume that the person who manages workers directly is called the Department Manager (DM). The Department Manager keeps the work flowing, assigns tasks, coordinates with other departments, ensures items are in-stock, and briefs the client, all while still working alongside their subordinates to facilitate the day’s activities. Department Managers report to the person who manages a number of departments, a position that is primarily office and paperwork intensive, usually called the General Manager (GM). GMs, in turn, report to a member of the Executive Staff, usually the Chief Operating Officer (COO).It is not uncommon to further break up the management levels of DM and GM into subcategories. For example, the DM category could be sub-divided into: Junior Department Manager, Department Manager, and Senior Department Manager. A Junior DM may be the term used to describe a new entry into the management ranks who works under the direction of a DM or Senior DM. A DM would be an experienced manger with a bigger workforce and larger job assignments. Finally, a Senior DM would have the most experience at assisting with employee training, x-large projects, and those jobs requiring specialized skills or in dealing with detail-oriented clients. The Senior DM would likely run the largest or most complex department. The GM ranks could be similarly divided.It is also wise to have pre-management positions that introduce potential entrants to the ranks without the accompanying official responsibilities. Thus, an Assistant Department Manager would serve as a normal crew member most of the time; but would be available to take over a portion of the project as needed by the DM. Additionally, they will fill-in as acting DM when the DM is on vacation or off work for personal reasons.Management Training is Essential:The most successful restaurant-chain in world history, McDonald’s, is the brunt of many jokes. They are, however, so successful because they are experts. Not only are they experts at “flipping burgers,” their world-renowned Hamburger University is a benchmark for educating management trainees on operation procedures, customer service, cleanliness, and business development. Similarly, Disney, United Parcel Service (UPS), Dell, and many others have been recognized as best-in-class for management and/or customer service training.Unfortunately, many other industries have the opposite distinction. They are recognized as the industry that provides no management training or has the worst customer service. Digging deeper will usually find that these industries promote their best hopefuls with a new title and a pay bump, only to throw them to wolves by telling them to go run the workplace. Throwing a fellow in the Mississippi River to teach them to swim may have been accepted in Tom Sawyer’s day, but is a procedure doomed to fail with management trainees. At the very least, each level of management should be given initial training followed by annual re-occurring training that delves deeper and broader as employees move up through the ranks.The best place to start is with the job description. What skills/tools will make the new manager improve company profitability and enhance reputation? Focus on key business areas:
Customer Service
Communicating Professionally
Reoccurring Duties
Completing Paperwork
Management & Team Building
Organization & Time Management
Technical Skill Enhancement
Role in Company’s Profitability
Official Employee Interaction
Merit Shop Responsibilities
Next, find outside vendors of one to two-day seminar-style courses and add self-study activities (books, books-on-tape, videos, webinars, etc.) that specialize in training new or advancing managers. Those activities that are specific to your company (completing a Job Report, corporate marketing soft-skills, or parts scheduling, for example) should be taught in-house by the DM team or executive staff.Skills can be taught in week or multi-week long training intensive courses where a trainee focuses only on management training until completed. Or, conversely, management trainees can complete classroom training intermixed with field-work over an extended period of time (say, six months for management training).Whatever your company’s approach, it must incorporate four overarching themes to profit and succeed in the new economy:
Develop a management structure for where you want your firm to be, not where it is.
Hire even entry-level technicians (apprentices) with potential management in mind.
Constantly analyze the workforce to identify leaders for future management positions.
Train, train, and re-train.

E-Learning and the Future of Online Education

Among the most recent technological advances that have been promoting the competitiveness of companies, such as call centers, electronic commerce, customer relationship management centers and human resource management centers, is a technology hub that is to realize its full potential – electronic education or more popularly the e-learning format.

By definition, e-learning is the provision of educational programs and learning systems through electronic means. The e-learning is based on the use of a computer or other electronic device (for instance, mobile phone) to provide people with educational materials on the go. Distance education laid the foundation for the development of e-learning, which solves some difficulties in terms of timing, synchronization of schedules, attendance and travel, typical problems of traditional education.

Also, the e-learning can involve a wider range of equipment online education. The term e-learning covers a broad suite of applications and processes such as Web-based learning, computer based training, virtual classrooms and digital collaboration (group work).

Advantages of E-Learning Programs

We present what experts in this area considered the most important benefits to the education industry:

Increased Productivity: The e-learning solutions as Web-based training (WBT, web-based training) and computer based training (CBT computer-based training) allows students to study from your desktop. Direct delivery of the courses can reduce downtime involving low productivity and helps to eliminate travel costs.

Timely: When launching a new product or service, e-learning can provide simultaneous training many participants about the processes and applications of the new product. A good program of e-learning can provide the necessary training in time to meet a specific date of commencement of operations.

Flexible Training: An e-learning system usually has a modular design. In some cases, participants can choose their own learning path. Additionally, users can mark certain sources of information as a reference, thus facilitating the process of change and increasing the benefits of the program.

Cost Savings per Participant: Perhaps the greatest benefit of e-learning is that the total cost of training per participant is lower than in a traditional instructor-led. However, e-learning programs tailored to entry may be more expensive due to the design and development thereof. It is recommended to conduct a thorough analysis to determine whether the e-learning is the best solution for your training needs and training before investing in the project.

What Discourages E-Learning?

The main barriers that have prevented the integration of these technologies of e-learning training programs of companies are:

1. Organizational structure and traditionalism.

2. Lack of best practices.

3. The lack of support and experience.

4. Lack of understanding and vision about e-learning.

5. The lack of human resources and user acceptance.

6. Organizations and traditional processes.

7. The lack of skill on the part of teachers and instructors, coupled with a negative attitude.

8. Lack of strategic actions.

9. Lack of training and support to teachers and instructors.

10. The time required for the preparation of the material.

The Most Common Errors

Like any emerging technology, e-learning requires the involvement of expert consultants who can implement a program leading organizations to success. Then we present the ten most common mistakes when defining a strategy for e-learning:

1. No vision.

2. Confusing strategy with technology.

3. Place the Learning Management System (LMS, learning management system) as the core of the strategy.

4. Focusing on the development and delivery rather than the business itself.

5. Focus on transforming a conventional training program in an online education program.

6. No consensus among partners.

7. No time to diagnose the lack of support from senior management.

8. To think that this new function is a part-time work or short duration.

9. Ignore the weaknesses and dangers.

10. Failure to change management.

Designing Tomorrow’s Education

While in Mexico and there are companies that offer e-learning solutions that involve content developed by experts, and infrastructure management platforms and other services, the acceptance of these technologies is not yet that this industry would have. Experts say that the adoption of e-learning in Mexico has been slow because there are cultural barriers.

Like other initiatives such as e-Mexico, public and private institutions are required to design and implement specific programs to advance the education industry in Latin America. It is imperative to mobilize the educational and cultural communities, as well as economic and social actors to accelerate changes in education systems and training for our countries to move towards a knowledge-based society.

An initiative of e-learning could be a path to modernize our economy. At the same time, through the components of the education industry, can provide the entire community, but particularly to our young people the skills and tools they need to succeed in a globalized economy based on knowledge. Those who are more interested in such projects are indeed educational institutions, which reduce costs for both the student and for the institution itself, mean a great incentive.

While companies continue to hire graduates of universities that demand Internet resources and access to information based on Web technologies, a matter of time that these organizations realize that the adoption of this new generation of technologies is imminent.

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