How much training is enough? The short answer – you can never have enough. The more the better. Yes, at some point you have to get to doing versus learning.
I know this is a controversial topic for a lot of organizations because budgets are tight and human resources are slim, but the reality is that if we really want to do our jobs well, then we have to continually train on the topics and concepts that we are deficient in.
We are professionals
Yes, we are professionals. We get paid to do a job. A job that most of us would consider white collar. When we think of professional athletes, we never question why they train everyday. Instead, we expect it. Spring training. Exhibition games. We are constantly evaluating them. And when it comes to martial arts we admire the guy that worked 40 hours a week and then trained 5 days a week for 10 years to earn his black belt. We think nothing of it, usually saying something to the effect of “that’s what you have to do if you want to be the best”.
So, why are we comfortable not investing the same level of effort in our own careers and even the careers of our staff? Why do we believe that it is okay for an athlete to train everyday (even on game day) to perform for 60 minutes, but we moan, groan, complain and close our ears and minds when it’s time to sit in safety training? The answer, well is, we think we are too good for it.
Training is serious
Let me ask you a question – how comfortable would you be if I showed you, just one time, how to pack a parachute, put it on and then ask you to take a plane up 14,000 feet and jump out?
Now ask yourself how comfortable you would be if I only showed you how to pack your chute and put it on using a video and never allowed you to touch it or fold it yourself?
Not going in the plane? I didn’t think so. Now, let’s translate that to safety training for your staff. When you offer staff one training in 5 years, what you are doing is essentially asking them to put on a chute and jump out of a plane. Respirators, fall protection harnesses and confined space air monitors are serious life saving devices and learning how to use them properly takes more than one classroom training session.
Failure doesn’t happen the first time
Failure doesn’t always happen the first time you do something. Creating failures can be very helpful in training, because it can create a sense of awareness for your staff. It helps people learn, but you can’t cover enough failures in an hour session once every five years to teach staff what to do in all of those scenarios. Instead, you need the staff to go into the field and bring back failures and then train solutions to them over and over again.
Real training, not just learning, but actual training allows you to learn the concepts, test the concepts and correct the errors. Repetition ingrains the correct muscle memory, decision making, trigger points and other essential habits into our minds and bodies.
Something that we do in Krav Maga is to overtake the error by doing it correctly twice in a row after the error. Meaning if we turn our body the wrong way, we start over and turn our body the right way. Then we do it again. We can do this for extinguisher fires, donning PPE, removing PPE, placing ladders, using forklifts, etc.
The key is to repeat the training often enough to ingrain the core concepts into our bodies and minds until we become a professional.