Improve Your Training Effectiveness

Knowing how to perform good excavation or pipe rehab work is one thing, but it isn’t always easy to convey those methods to your team. Here’s one strategy that’s simple to implement and can produce positive results.

A utility is only as good as its team. When your customers think of your utility, they’ll think of your employees. So if you have a strong team of expert technicians who are giving their very best to every customer, you’ll position your crew for growth.

Unfortunately, many municipalities have to admit: Their teams are not always living up to those high expectations of expertise and service.

Training your team is the only way to raise your entire outfit to the level you want it to operate at. But if you're not an expert trainer, how do you train your team effectively? And more important, if you’re not a trainer of trainers, how do you get the best leaders in your crew to train your other team members?

Here’s a training framework that works over and over. Use it to train your team, and then teach it to your leaders so they can train others. This framework will lock new lessons into your team members’ minds and help them become proficient very quickly.

The training framework

Step 1. Explain – Explain the concept and describe what you are about to do. Explain why you’re going to do it and what the ideal outcome is going to be.

Step 2. Demonstrate – Do the work that you just described. If appropriate, explain what you are doing as you go so that the employee can hear your thought process and see your actions.

Step 3. Demonstrate to me – Have the employee do the same thing back to you, showing you what they would do.

Step 4. Teach me – Have the employee teach you how to do the work they’ve just been taught. In other words, they pretend to be the expert and you pretend to be the new person and you listen as they teach and demonstrate.

Step 5. Teach others – Have the employee teach others how to do the work.

Why It Works

This training system works really well for a number of reasons:

  • It’s simple to implement because it requires no costly training resources.
  • It’s entirely in the field and focuses on practical application instead of theory.
  • It’s simple to teach to your team so they can each train employees.
  • It leverages a little-known secret: that teaching something makes you better at it than simply hearing or doing.
  • It’s very fast and very effective, so you can rapidly get your team to a level of proficiency.

Where to Use It

Once you’ve tried it, you’ll want to use it all the time. And the good news is that you can. You can apply this training framework in all aspects of your team.

  • Use it to train your leaders how to train and lead.
  • Use it in specific departments — for accountants, human resources, outbound sales, marketing, etc.
  • Use it in the field to teach your new team members how your utility serves your customers.
  • Use it in the field to train techs who aren’t proficient.
  • Use it to teach both soft skills (like rapport-building and selling), as well as technical skills.

About the author: Mike Agugliaro is the “Business Warrior” and founder of CEO Warrior, a business consulting, training, and mentoring firm, providing tested and proven methods to defeat the roadblocks that prevent small to midsized businesses from achieving their ultimate success. For more information about CEO Warrior, visit


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