Finding Teachable Moments
In the high tempo of business and the increasing challenges of the
security industry today, we need strong, reliable leadership. This starts at the grass roots; or as was said in my former maritime career, “the deck plate level”.
Turnover costs money but quite often this cost can be mitigated by the effectiveness of a strong leadership program. Weighing the training cost versus performance returns is a delicate balance and can be somewhat subjective unless you have benchmarks in place. An initial comprehensive training program should be designed to prepare your security staff for the basics of the job. Direct supervisor mentoring and the leveraging of “teachable moments” provides your security staff with the additional skillsets needed to succeed in your company and in life.
What do I mean by teachable moments? I would like you take a moment and think back on the times in your life and career where you learned valuable life and leadership experience. Was it some long diatribe about leadership at some seminar or was it an “Oh”, moment? “Oh” is the difference between almost right and exactly right, like when you hear “Oooooooooh, OK”. These “teachable moments” are those times that we all seem to learn the most important lessons. So, as leaders, we need to be able to recognize when these moments are. Here’s a secret: you make them with every interaction. Take two minutes to answer a question or provide a positive course correction.
Direct mentoring on a “moment-based” schedule may sound like a piecemeal approach but I would argue that when you look back on your own leadership lessons you will see that they were more memorable as moments than long lectures, classes, and speeches. It is crucial for your mid-level leadership to have strong leadership skillsets. You can try and hire for that; but you are still going have unknown variables. Creating a leadership training program allows your young leaders to hone their craft, network with each other, and foster support and esprit- de-corps.
So now you want to implement a program, YEA! If it were only that easy, right? Well I would venture to say that if you have a fairly successful company the bones of the program already exist. You just need to put a label on it and formalize it a bit.
When considering implementing a leadership program you need to ask yourself two simple questions to help frame your program objectives:
Are you looking to invest in your company?
Are you looking to invest in your people?
Hopefully you are answering “yes” to both questions.
My approach is I want to invest in my people’s lives. I want to be a positive impact and to provide them with the culture and confidence for them to grow as a mentor and leader. Some might say (and we have all heard it before), “why would I invest in creating a great leader? They are just going to leave or worse take my job”. If those two things are a concern to you then you are not in the leadership business. If you have a hand in helping someone learn and flourish as a mentor and leader then that is a skillset that they take with them in life. They may take it to another company; that’s true. They may take it to another company that wants to form a lucrative partnership with your company because of what they learned about being a leader at yours. They may value the corporate culture that these kinds of programs can generate. And if you are worried about someone taking your job, then what are you not doing that makes you feel threatened? If you are doing things right, then you are selflessly building strong leaders that will build a mutually beneficial future.
Leaders do just that. We lead the way and pave the path forward whether that path be to promotion or into the fire. Ask yourself - will your people follow you there?
Being a good leader and mentor is an essential component to limiting turnover in the industry. Training cost can strain a security budget, especially if you have a high turnover rate. And the best way to limit turnover is to invest in your employees’ future. Taking the time to invest in your people will always be a benefit to the bottom line.