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Common Sense Training: A Working Philosophy for Leaders

1 rating: 5.0
A book by Arthur Collins

"The best book on military training from platoon to division level that has been published in any army."--Army Magazine

Tags: Books, Cafe Libri
Author: Arthur Collins
Genre: Business & Investing
Publisher: Presidio Press
1 review about Common Sense Training: A Working Philosophy...

If Resources Are Limited....

  • May 16, 2001
Athletes are coached to "play within themselves" while striving to set new performance standards. In the business world (as Buckingham and Coffman explain in First, Break All the Rules), the most effective managers are those who focus almost entirely on their people's talents and get those talents in proper alignment with the tasks to be completed. The United States military services (especially the Marine Corps) take an entirely different approrach: Through what is indeed basic training, they require everyone involved to master essentially the same skills, within the same schedule, under the same conditions, etc. Only later are graduates of this rigorous process selected to receive more specialized training, usually according to their talents.

This book will be especially valuable to those organizations which have limited resources to invest in formal training. More than 90% of what is learned in any workplace is the result of on-the-job (i.e. informal) training. Collins and Bolger have obviously taken a close look at all manner of formal training programs, including those in the military srevices. They also fully understand the importance of informal training. If your organization has limited resources but a great need to increase the value of its human capital (i.e. increasing the quantity and -- especially -- the quality of what they understand and what they can do), what this book offers would be an excellent starting point. I'm not damning with faint praise. Eventually, if and when appropriate, I would then recommend Peter Senge's The Fifth Discipline and The Dance of Change.

All organizations, regardless of size or nature, must constantly focus on increasing the effectiveness of on-the-job training. There are always at least a few people in each corporate department or small-to-midsize company who are both knowledgable and passionate. "They really know their stuff." They love to explain what they do and how they do it. Others probably think of them as "born teachers." Put them to work as trainers and be sure to reward them generously for their services. Provide books such as Collins and Bolger's to assist their preparation. One effective strategy is to have them conduct what I call "brown bag seminars." Employers or supervisors provide the food and beverages, welcome the participants, wish them well, and then leave the room. Any organization's most valuable assets really do "walk out the door at the end of each day." It is also important to remember that those assets are located between two ears.

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