For years, we’ve gone to the school of hard knocks and learned by doing. In private business, this is often the most practical and affordable option. We’ve learned in the following sequence:

  1. Our jobs,
  2. The company culture,
  3. Additional jobs,
  4. How to manage,
  5. How to lead.

These steps work particularly well when employees do several jobs. Cross training is also critical, especially for businesses with unpredictable sales levels.

But now, with the profound changes of the 21st Century business, outside skills, such as social media and the ability to think strategically, require employees to quickly adapt and learn. New challenges and opportunities require outside skill sets now. Companies need on-the-job mastery, in a space of months not years.

And training customers is also changing. For example, consider the Delta Airlines safety video series, which succeed despite passenger apathy. To encourage active learning, these, humorous and downright outrageous videos help ensure that passengers learn how to fasten their seatbelts.

If you believe that on-the-job training is enough, then why, in an emergency evacuation, do panicking passengers forget how to open their seatbelts?

Do you and your employees need more than on-the-job learning for 21st Century business growth?

Copyright 2015 Andy Birol All Rights Reserved

Photo Credit: Richard – Delta video Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)