Leading Edge Training Solutions

training trainers, supervisors and their teams


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


What makes a good Supervisor?

This is not a new question, it’s been around a long time. What is clear is that a good supervisor is ‘worth his or her weight in gold’. It’s an important function in any organisation and the real question is, are we spending enough time and energy supporting those who are appointed as supervisors? Supervisors need two skillsets. (maybe more, but today I was thinking about two that really make a huge difference)

The first are the skills involved in the TASK they are supervising. So if the supervisor is supervising machine operators in a food factory, they should be experts in operating and problem solving on the machine. In addition there is knowledge of the food product, food safety and health and safety. Expertise in this area gives the supervisor confidence to supervise his or her team and also gives confidence to the people being supervised. This is the reason supervisors are often promoted from within.

But then there is the second skillset, the skill of leading people. Although these skills, and there are a complex combination of skills here, are called ‘soft skills’, they are in fact very hard to acquire and to do well. Some people seem to have a natural aptitude it pick up these skills, but to others this is a long and hard process. And to be sure, like any skill in life, no two supervisors are going to end up with the same ability to execute each of the complex skills that make up the skillset of supervisory leadership. Our 2 day Supervisory Leadership course attempts to give supervisors a taste of just some of these skills. But to make a difference, they have to come prepared to change, to try out the new knowledge and skills on the job and (a very big AND), to receive support and ongoing coaching back on the job. I say it again because it’s worth repeating - You cannot expect a person who has been on a course to change much, if you don’t give them the support, tools, encouragement, opportunity, time ongoing coaching.

My advice? Take time to identify the competencies required by each of your supervisors, take time to evaluate, with their input as well, their level on each of the competencies. Help them develop the skills and knowledge identified, supporting them all the way. It’s a big job and you may want some help, but it’s important, it makes a difference and it’s rewarding, in more ways than one.

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