February 9, 2009 | Mark Paradies

John Miller Explains Why to Invest in Training Now


John Miller is our closing Keynote Speaker at the TapRooT® Summit (October 7-9 in Nashville, TN). I thought his article (below) was a great reminder of how important it is not to surrender our long term improvements to short term crisis – so I got permission to reprint the article here.

If you would like to find out more about John and his inspiring, helpful way of viewing personal accountability, attend the TapRooT® Summit. Until then, visit his web site at:


Now for John Miller’s article:

It’s Time To Train!

The man who brought me into the training industry in 1986, a terrific guy named Jim Strutton, always told me, “John, most organizations spend more money landscaping their grounds each year than developing their people!” Well, probably not always accurate, but given our current economic plight it sure could be. Yet the reality is this:

Now is the time to invest in people.

An immutable truth:

When tough times come, the training dollar is the last one budgeted
and the first one cut. Training is seen as “discretionary,”
even as some management teams chant

Cutting training now would be as ludicrous as:

  • Allowing a teenager to get his license and begin driving his little sister to dance practice without ensuring, through responsible parental instruction, that he knows exactly how to do the job. Teaching a teen to drive safely is not optional. Right, parents?
  • Allowing the passengers on the plane that became a boat on the Hudson River to be served by pilots and flight attendants who didn’t have the skills to handle the crisis. Thankfully, their training wasn’t “discretionary.”
  • The Millers frantically knocking on the door of our neighbor Bruce÷a lieutenant in the local fire department÷at 2am because our house is on fire, and having him respond with, “Sorry, but our classroom training budgets have suffered deep cuts, so my team just isn’t ready for fieldwork. Good luck!”

Yes, I know, a bit absurd, but don’t doubt it for a minute: The economic situation we’re in right now is a lot like a house on fire. For some organizations, it is an emergency. And that is why we must train.

We need team members who are sharp, able, and ready to solve problems. Efficiency and effectiveness are paramount, while paying customers are rarer than ever. This is not a time for waste, nor the moment to lose buyers while believing there are a dozen more waiting in the wings to take their place. Because there are not.
Too often organizations try to get through tough times with nothing more than empty words like these:

“Do more with less!”
“Be a team!”
“Adapt to change!”
“Get out there and sell!”
“You can do it; we believe in you!”

Or possibly you’ve simply been told to work harder.

Sorry, but lectures, motivational speeches, and platitudes are not enough. People need skills.

The good news is, some organizations seem to be on top of this incredible need for skill development. We’ve already seen a change in 2009. As I digress just a bit, this may sound like a commercial. So, my apologies in advance …

At QBQ, Inc., we do two things, both around personal accountability: Live QBQ! presentations (speaking) and provide a training program our clients facilitate in-house.

Our speaking revenue is dependent on client-held events. Currently, events are scarce. When the economy suffers, layoffs abound, and profits dim, this makes sense. Events stick out like sore thumbs and send the wrong message. It’s pretty conflicting to take a sales force to the Bahamas while home office positions are being cut.

But on the training side, we see growth. And that’s good, because training sends the right messages to people.

Training builds trust, loyalty, and confidence÷not to mention competence. It assuages fear and worry. In fact, one client firm went a step further. They took a class of 16 people through QBQ! training even though seven of the people had just been laid off and would be seeking employment elsewhere! Now that’s a merciful company and one that I could work for.

It’s also an organization that will be ready to compete when the economy turns. And make no mistake; all recessions go away. All sour economies rebound. So the only question is, will your people be prepared? They will be if you agree with the title of this message:

It’s time to train!

John G. Miller
Author of QBQ! and Flipping the Switch

With Kristin Lindeen
QBQ! speaker/workshop facilitator

Please enjoy two QBQ!® interviews:

The Dave Ramsey TV Show QBQ! interview

CBS-4 QBQ! interview

How to reach John Miller:

QBQ, Inc.
Helping Organizations Make Personal Accountability a Core Value ˙
11368 Nucla Street, Denver, CO 80022
303-286-9900, Fax: 303-286-9911
Email: info@QBQ.com

QBQ! QuickNotes˙ may be forwarded by email to others or printed in their entirety with full credit given for personal and group use. © QBQ, Inc. 2009. All rights reserved.

All rights reserved. QBQ, QBQ!, and The Question Behind the Question are trademarks of QBQ, Inc.

Show Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *