When I think about Training within Industry (TWI), I think of a method of incremental training. You don’t go out and try to train everyone at once, but you work on Methos, Relationships and Instruction. I asked Bob Petruska, the author of Gemba Walks for Service Excellence: The Step-by-Step Guide for Identifying Service Delighters, a question that eventually involved into looking at TWI as a Strength Based Approach.
Joe: When you look at training individuals, then we talk about that lot that we have to train individuals and teach them about Lean. Is it so much training or is it just, like you just said, getting out of the way and leaving them try a few things and encouraging it?
Bob: Yeah, that’s interesting. The training has certainly evolved. What we think of is training or what I used to think of is training as you go to a class and you learn something and then maybe you use 5% of it, you know, and then you’ll forget 100% of it in 2 weeks, you know. So, training’s not effective unless you’re doing and I think learning by doing is a great way. And, what I encourage people to do is not only learn by doing but then teach other people. So, to put it this way, if I teach you something and I say “Okay. You can do this job now.” But, I’m going to ask you, Joe, I want you to train someone else.” That’s a whole other ball game. You’ve got to really raise your ability up to another level if you train another person.
I think it’s that helping relationship that we nurture by allowing people to train other people that really propels it and makes it stick because you really get a deeper understanding if you have to teach another person. I’m always on the lookout for those early adopters and people that really want to latch on and that want to carry the ball forward. Many times it’s often the person that is the least susceptible to the idea in the first place. They’re the ones that are kind of grumpy and saying “Well, that’ll never work.” I have people tell me “Bob, that’ll never work. We’ve tried that before.” I love people like that because I want to flip them because they become the biggest advocates of any improvement process.
Joe: I think of it when you’re talking that way is training within industry or TWI, is that because you don’t go out and try to train everyone at once, you actually get someone to master it and become your advocate and train more, you know, through the different programs of it. Is there any truth in that, I mean are you familiar with TWI?
Bob: I certainly am and I know there’s a component in there for the supervisor and we learn that that first-line supervisor is really key to any of these things. Again, we need to get ourselves in a position where we can step back and let other people shine. That’s not to say we can’t set them up for success. A big part of TWI is setting the person up for success because if a person is successful from the beginning they build confidence. You’re trying something new and we want you to be successful. On the other hand, we also want to correct your mistakes immediately and we do this in a non-confrontational manner. We just say, “Look, when you’re learning this, try it and see how it goes.” And then, come back and review. Watch them. If you see them making a mistake, correct them on the spot because they won’t take offense to it. They actually, “Oh, here let me show you how this is done. Wait let me show you again.” So, that they really can master it and once they demonstrate that they can do the job, then you’ve pretty well got it. So, I think TWI is brilliant and really it’s foundational.
Joe: Is TWI a strength-based approach?
Bob: I think so. I mean it’s not looking at deficits, is it?
Joe: No, it’s not at all. Is it?
Bob: It’s looking at best practice, right? It’s ‘let’s document’ the best practice that we know of. And then, let’s deliver it in a way that’s palatable for adult learners. You know, there’s a lot of people in the industry that have grown up teaching elementary students and that’s a totally different game than in adults. Adults don’t want to be treated like children, so we have to be really careful about how we approach them and TWI really fits the bill.
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