Where does your organization spend its staff development dollars? My guess is these dollars are primarily spent on technical training for front line staff (i.e. receptionist and medical assistants). Training the front line staff can be cheap and easy. Nearly 90% of the time, it can be done in house, by another staff member who has experience in the topic at hand. Management training tends to be a bit different in that it is much more specialized. They spend time going to conferences, or allot time in their schedules for research and self-training (if they aren’t, they need to!). The c-suite team receives the most specialized training, and in turn, spends the most in staff development. However, such training is reflected in their ability to build trust, handle confrontation and hold the organization accountable.
Recently, I decided to begin the training journey of self-policing with the staff at Valley Obgyn. We are using Patrick Lencioni’s “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” as our building blocks for measuring growth and success. We are almost six months into this journey and have barely made it past the first building block of “absence of trust.” You may say that is a lot of time and energy spent for little progress, and in some ways, you aren’t wrong. So, the questions is why? This brings me back to the first paragraph of where are the training dollars spent, what type of training is being provided and who is doing the training. After months of pushing self-policing with little progress, I came to the following realizations:
Realization #1: Behavior and personality adaptation are not technical skills that are learned by the “see one, do one, teach one” method. The “Transtheoretical Model of Change” study shows that it takes 66 days to establish a habit and one to five years for it to develop into a true behavior. This is, after a person decides it is a good idea and wants to make the change.
Realization #2: Some staff have never experienced true trust and healthy conflict in their personal lives or professional careers. Staff that have never experienced something cannot understand the concept, nor even understand how to take the first steps to becoming something they know nothing about.
Realization #3: Realization one and two lead to realization three. This journey is going to require allocating training efforts and dollars equally amongst all the staff with consistency. Training will need to come in all forms so it will resonate with each staff member to help them create a vision of what could be.
I challenge you all as leaders and managers in your organization to consistently provide your team with education and tools to help them change their behaviors.