Who Trains You?

Sept. 13, 2018
Show time in the HVACR industry has begun. Take advantage of an educational or networking event, whether near or far!

Most contractors acknowledge the necessity, if not the virtue of training their team. Training results in greater knowledge, improved performance, fewer mistakes, and provides a motivational boost.  Well, the same thing that applies to the team, applies to the boss. Yet, business owners often neglect their own training, telling themselves the following myths.

Myth 1:  I Don’t Have the Time

Business owners often tell themselves they have too much going on to take a couple of days off.  This is a myth.

In the book, "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People," Stephen Covey tells the story of two lumberjacks who are competing in a competition to see who can cut down the most trees.  The younger, stronger lumberjack figures he can simply outwork his older competitor.

As the competition proceeded, the younger lumberjack would pause from time to time to listen for his competitor.  He noticed that the older lumberjack was taking breaks, so he redoubled his efforts.

When the competition ended, the younger lumberjack was stunned to learn the older lumberjack was far more productive.  Dismayed, he asked the older lumberjack how he beat him when he kept taking breaks.  The older lumberjack replied, “Those weren’t breaks.  I was sharpening my saw.”

When you attend training, you are sharpening your personal saw.  You return to work sharper, with a better edge.  Taking time to attend a seminar or conference does not take time away from productive activities, it makes you more productive.

 Myth 2:  "I Don’t Know What I Will Learn"

Some business owners will not attend training events because they are not sure what they will learn.  They do not know if they will find value.  This is also a myth.

In addition to other, one-off seminars, I attend the Service World Expo every fall, the AHR Show every January, and the ISH Show every other March.  When asked what I expect to learn, I usually answer that I don’t know.  If I knew, I wouldn’t need to go.  I would already know the answers.

People attend training events to learn something new. They recognize that they do not know what they do not know.

Inevitably I learn something new at every conference, seminar, or meeting.  Sometimes it’s a big “a ha” and sometimes it’s a minor “a ha,” but every “a ha” is unexpected and unpredicted.

Most business owners who attend training events report that they are glad they did.  Even if they do not experience an “a ha” moment, they break out of their ruts.  They greet old friends and make new contacts.

Myth 3:  I Can’t Afford It

It is expensive to attend conferences and training events.  There’s the price of attendance, plus the transportation, plus the hotels.  Some business owners convince themselves they cannot afford it.  This is also a myth.

Training is an investment without a defined return.  But then, so are most investments.  Fixed income investments like bonds and bank certificates of deposits have defined returns.  They also offer some of the lowest returns of any investment.  Where there is not a defined return, there is the chance of a big return.  And so it is with training investments.

Business owners who think they cannot afford training should ask themselves if they can afford to stagnate. Training and education is a cost of business, a necessary, even essential investment.  Without it, you will not learn about new business innovations and new processes.  Your competitors will pass you by while you try to save your way to prosperity, which never happens.

Once, at a conference, a contractor came up to me to thank me.  He told me I saved his business because of something I shared at a previous conference.  In truth, he saved his business, but he saved it because of an “a ha” moment he had.  I’m happy I contributed.

This was a business owner who probably wrestled with the idea of investing in his own training, made the investment anyway, and learned something that kept his business afloat.  He may have thought he couldn’t afford the training, but it turns out he couldn’t afford to miss it.

The Service World Expo October 10-12 at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. This is a training event you cannot afford to miss. Pre-registration is still open and only costs $249.  Learn from and interact with the industry’s best practitioners in the business of contracting.  Attend the industry’s most innovative and fun trade show. Visit www.ServiceWorldExpo.com or call 844.742.3970 for more information.  

About the Author

Matt Michel | Chief Executive Officer

Matt Michel was a co-founder and CEO of the Service Roundtable (ServiceRoundtable.com). The Service Roundtable is an organization founded to help contractors improve their sales, marketing, operations, and profitability. The Service Nation Alliance is a part of this overall organization. Matt was inducted into the Contracting Business HVAC Hall of Fame in 2015. He is now an author and rancher.