Leading Edge Training Solutions

training trainers, supervisors and their teams


Are we there yet?

Any parent will know the all too familiar call from the children in the back seat during a long trip in the car - ‘Are we there yet’ and then there is the all to familiar reply - ‘We are nearly there, won’t be long now.’ 😉

It seems to me that our journey with COVID here in New Zealand has shades of this scenario. We are not quite there, but we have made a lot of progress and it won’t be too long before we can say we have arrived. Optimistic? Perhaps, but our incremental steps to improve border controls and the delivery of the first batch of vaccine gives hope for a smoother ride for the rest of this year. This is not in any way to make light of the rough ride that many organisations, including those within hospitality, travel and tourism sectors, continue to face and will still face for some time.

What does this mean for training and development of staff? I get a sense that Organisations are wanting to move on their plans to develop their staff. Yes, to a certain extent we have developed a new capability to engage with learning and development initiatives long distance, but there will always be a need for face to face and hands on training for aspects of interpersonal and manual skills learning. I am anticipating that our public and in-house courses will go ahead as scheduled this year, and that new competencies in digital learning will be another sting to the bow that will enhance the learning process.

Wishing you all the best as you navigate year 2 of this challenging chapter of our lives.


Two steps forward, one step back

We have made progress, but as we all know, it was two steps forward, one step back when we, as a country, had to go back into a partial lockdown to deal with new community transmissions. Once again this caused difficulties for businesses and therefore training as well. Scheduled courses had to be postponed or cancelled and even when lockdown levels were eased, confidence has not quickly returned. But we are resilient in New Zealand and LETStrain has a steady flow of enquiries for in-house training. Public courses are seeing a slower recovery, but there are encouraging signs there as well. We will schedule new public courses as and when numbers for a specific course justify it, hopefully soon.

We hope that your order books are filling up and that your steps forward will turn into leaps and bounds. All the best, we look forward to hearing from you.

Zero Covid-19 cases and focus on recovery

What a fantastic effort everyone in New Zealand made to get to the current situation of Zero identified COVID-19 case. A lot of sacrifices have been made and we acknowledge those who are hurting physically, mentally, financially and any other way.

The call now is for recovery, economic and social. This involves us all, Public Sector, Private Sector Not for Profits, in fact all of us ordinary (perhaps extraordinary) folk going about our daily lives, wanting the best for ourselves, our families and our friends.

Whilst some may not yet be ready to attend training courses or to hold them in-house, some of you will be wanting to progress your staff development needs. Whether it is to book someone on one of our upcoming public courses, arrange an in-house course, or to talk about your needs at this stage, we would love to hear from you. We are very flexible on dates, timings and delivery options. You can make touch through our ‘Contact Us’ page and if you are on facebook, click on the facebook symbol below and if you ‘Like’ our page, you will be able to receive updates on courses that are coming up 😀

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Staff Training and Development – during and after COVID-19

First off may we express our sadness and condolences to those of you who have lost a loved one during this time. These are painful times for many. We are also mindful of others who are anxious due to job losses, loss of businesses and income stream. To those in Essential Services, who are putting yourselves and your families at risk, we salute you and hope that you are rewarded in many seen and unseen ways over the coming years. God bless you.

At times like these the best and sometimes sadly the worst of people come into sharp focus. I love the way many are showing those ‘acts of kindness’ that our Prime Minister is encouraging. The many positive messages, encouraging testimonies and songs that people are sharing online are also amazing. I’m not a great ‘passer-on’ of online/social media offerings, but some seem just too good to keep to oneself

During my time in the corporate world I have been fortunate to have worked for companies who put a high priority on training. I have never been asked, even during tough times, to pull the plug on our training plans. I know many of my Learning and Development colleagues have not been so fortunate, where people have been pulled out of training courses to attend to ‘matters more pressing’. The lockdown has meant we have had to put a hold on face to face training and I believe it’s the right move. I for one am not going to return to normal with public workshops too soon after the lockdown is lifted. I want to be certain that there is no risk to those attending, to our venue and to ourselves. I am also mindful that a lot of organisations will want to get up and running with their businesses before committing to people being off the job. On the other hand, there may be some who feel that it is a good time to re-train as a result of reorganisation and reassigning of people. There will be all sorts of challenges and I’m sure that staff development will be one of the many options when getting back to business. We will certainly be ready to assist if we are able to.

As a last thought, I hope that some of you working from home have had time to take advantage of the many online learning offerings available. Some will be pursuing anything from educational studies through to skills for the workplace and even kick-starting that stalled hobby or interest – playing that guitar gathering dust in the corner, learning to sketch, baking bread, etc. At this point in time we don’t have any of our material on-line, although we are working on it. I am happy however to discuss any thoughts you have and to share or explore helpful online articles or websites that could suit your needs.

Subject Matter Experts don’t always make good Trainers

It happens often, and I can understand why. A person becomes the Subject Matter Expert (SME) in his or her field of expertise and as a result is chosen to train the new team members. In many cases however, the learner is frustrated – the teacher is going too fast, assumes prior knowledge, doesn’t give sufficient practice, doesn’t give helpful feed-back on progress. It’s not the SMEs fault. Far from it, they have the knowledge and skills on the subject matter but have never been taught the knowledge and skills required to facilitate a learning process.

A simple and yet immensely helpful concept, is for a SME to realise that they could be ‘unconsciously competent’. This occurs when a subject matter expert is so far ahead of the learner, that they are no longer conscious of the small steps or concepts the learner needs to acquire the new material.

We teach this concept and more, in our 2 day ‘On-Job Trainer’ course. The idea is documented in a model of learning called the Competence (or Learning) Ladder, although the diagrammatic representation is more like Competence Steps to me. The Model is attributed to a number of people and organisations but seems to have been first documented in 1969 by Martin Broadwell in the ‘Gospel Guardian’, an American Christian periodical.

When I was first introduced to the four-step model, some 18 years ago, I felt there should be a fifth step and added this to my own model. I have since seen others introduce a fifth step as well. Here is my version –

On the first step, Unconscious Incompetence, learners don’t know that they don’t know.
On the second, Conscious Incompetence, they are aware that they don’t know the subject.
On the third, Conscious Competence, they know how but have to concentrate to get it right.
On the fourth, Unconscious Competence, they are experienced and can do without thinking.
On the fifth, Conscious of Unconscious Competence, they are able to revisit stage 3 and teach others. Not every SME reaches this level, to do so usually requires the trainer/facilitator skills typically taught on an ‘On-Job Trainer’ course.

I have a more detailed and helpful article if you are interested. Give me a call or use our ‘Contact Us’ form.

Competence Ladder