Training For Your Life

Over the past weekend I was between events and we found ourselves looking to check out some local history. We were just outside King of Prussia where I was onsite with a client this week doing sales and service training and ride alongs. The lovely Christy found a historic site called Valley Forge so we headed over there to do some walking and take in some American History.

What we found was actually a very special place which has much meaning and emotion to me as a combat veteran from the first Gulf War. It turns out that this was a place that George Washington spent a winter with his troops of the Continental Army. I believe that we can learn valuable business lessons regarding leadership, training, perseverance and so much more when it comes to history and the study of effective leaders.

Nearly 12,000 troops spent that cold winter of 1777 at Valley Forge. The tragedy of this place is certainly represented by the 2500 men that lost their lives over that winter. They didn’t lose their lives due to a major battle. In fact there was only one small battle with the British at this site. These troops lost their lives to disease and unhealthy conditions. They were short on supplies like clothes and shoes and their main order of business was to stay alive.

Valley Forge became a place where the soldiers were trained. They began learning how to effectively march and fight for their lives so they could continue with the new found freedom in this country. As I stood there over the weekend I couldn’t help but think about how incredibly important the training they received was to their lives.

Think about your own business or situation. I’m sure you have a training program, right? If not, you better get on it because your competition keeps getting better! Whatever type of training you do is probably like most companies and revolves around sales, customer service, and staying on top of technical changes within what type of work you do.

With the exception of certain things technically, we are usually not training on things that our lives depend on. We’re looking to improve performance. We’re looking to make more money. We’re looking to improve our customer service skills in order to keep more customers happy.

What if your life depended on how effective your training is? What if your training was so important that you had to use the information to stay alive through the winter? Do you think you would kick it up a notch and take some things more seriously? Of course you would, so why not bring a philosophy of vital importance to what you do?

Having a meeting on Tuesday morning does not mean you’re effectively training your team. It simply means you have meetings. You must commit to your training as if your life depended on it. I believe the life of your company does depend on it. I’m blessed with a great group of clients that I work with in our mastermind groups and onsite training. One consistency of all great companies is that they value training. They invest in training their team, and they take the steps in follow up to make things stick.

Reflect today on your own training system and identify any areas of opportunity that you may have. If you’d like me to review your training system and procedures, just shoot me an email and we’ll jump on the phone for 15-20 minutes and I’ll do a free evaluation for you.

Think about those gentlemen that lost their lives at Valley Forge so many years ago. They had a major purpose for what they were training for and their lives depended on it. I believe we owe it to those mean to live our lives with gratitude for the freedom they helped create for us. Because of this, you have the freedom to setup your company training program anyway you want. What if your life depended on it?



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