Happy National Teacher Appreciation Day!

A couple of days ago I was approached by Bob at Webucator who asked me to share a fun, personal post about my favorite teacher or one that had a great impact. 

On National Teacher Appreciation Day (May 6) they are going to choose one of the teachers portrayed in a post and send them flowers as a thank you for their hard work each and every day.

Of course I thought this was a wonderful idea, and I was too flattered to think twice and told him to count me in. 

Just - who IS my favorite teacher? I don't think I have one in particular.

What criteria would I even base it on? A teacher I liked because they were nice? One who taught me something that was hard for me? Somebody who challenged me to try other ways?

When I started first grade I thought a teacher was the person who did something, so by the end of the year we would be able to read, write and do math.

After school I went into Human Resources which also includes Training & Development. And that's where I learned that more importantly than transferring knowledge and skills was working on the attitude if necessary.

One person who demonstrated this in a simple and unforgettable manner was Terry Connel. He was the T&D leader for Starbucks's EMEA region, and every couple of months I got to spend some time to have coffee and pick his brain.

One day I was venting about the Store Managers who were just not listening to what I was trying to tell them about recruiting. Why did they always go for the quick & dirty solution and hired the next best person available to work a shift instead of really analyzing the candidate's background and motivation before offering them the job? 

Thierry made a drawing and said "This is your store manager."

Step 1: 
Ask yourself: Does he know what to do? Have you told and showed him? 
Yes! Countless times!

Step 2: 
Can he do it? Have you trained him? 
I do the ?#@*&% interview workshops every month! Some attend it several times. 
Has he demonstrated the skill? Have you actually observed him doing a good interview?
Hmmm, nope! Once they're out of that classroom, they're on their own.

Step 3: 
Does he want to? Is he motivated to do it? Are you coaching him? 
Hahah, some would rather clean toilets than doing interviews! Unfortunately I can't go to the stores and hold hands with a dozen managers, I have other things on my plate, you know!

There you go then… Gotta work smarter!

What did I take from my art class with Terry?

  • Don't preach. 
  • Make more time for interview role playing in that workshop. 
  • Find a way to convince them that interviewing is fun, and everybody can do it!

My way started with a board game I created with a little help from my friend in the Finance department. It included play mobile figures, monopoly money and a dice. It showed the managers that "bad hires" cost a lot of money. Every manager is worried about his bottom line. By hiring the good play mobile figures they could improve their cash, increase stability, have more time for other tasks, lots to win!!

OK, the door was open. They started asking questions.

It was a long way. It still is. I have been gone five years, and still, Barista turnover is terrible. But some of my beloved Store Managers are still there and take the time to have coffee when I visit as a customer. 

Terry has moved on to another company, and sadly we haven't been in touch lately. I hope this changes when he gets the flowers!

So today's drawings are brought to you by my son Colin. He insisted to add skates and a hockey stick to the SKILL figure. Brilliant example of TRAINING, isn't it? 

Long live Terry and his stick figures!

Realistically to find one really wonderful teacher you have to meet some, well, not so great ones. I wrote about them, too.

Oh, and Bob wants you to know that they are focussing on software classes this month. I understand the founder of this company didn't like school all that well.