"We have no budget for training and I have a team that really needs it."
by A. Ryan Mercik [Author's Profile]
Sometimes there really is no training budget and a team really does need training—what do you do? It's time to get creative, innovative, and resourceful. It's time to make sure you maximize the talent you have so your attrition rate doesn't increase. One way to do it is by asking people with specific skills and abilities—either on your team or in partnering organizations—to share what they know. When you cross-train within your team, one result is that people will get recognition for the talent they have. This positive focus can become a source of creativity leading to future opportunities to grow your people and team.
If you work with vendors or have external resources you can leverage—do! Ask if you can share intellectual capital without cost; others may have the same constraints you do. Regardless of your financial situation, people have to continue to grow and feel like they are moving forward. If you provide them with opportunity for that, it helps to create and foster a positive environment. Leaders will rise and sometimes surprise you and the rest of the team.
There is always a way ...
There is always a way for people to help others grow and learn. If you aren't the creative, innovative type—get out of your box and ask for input. Involving team members in thinking about ways to move everyone forward when budget or other constraints are in place will send a message that you care about your team and value their input—that is, if you are sincere and have already fostered that type of exchange.
Clients tend to hold one of two very different opinions. First, there are people who think the answer is within their team. They don't need anyone from outside their team or organization to move forward. If they have a budget for training or team building, they don't take advantage of it. Then there are others who think using outside sources is the only way to move people forward and get them trained, motivated, and excited about what they do—or to simply have and generate positivity. No budget is large enough for that.
Get clear on your priorities
The reality is that it's a usually a combination of the two approaches, but first get clear on your priorities. Don't assume you know what your issues and training needs are until you confirm your situation and your needs first. If you need help—seek it. The biggest risk happens when you assume you know what the core problem is. When you attempt to address the problem you think you have, you often will still have the problem after tossing all sorts or resources at the so-called problem—human, monetary, and time. And worse, you may have lost some credibility while exacerbated the original problem. Gather requirements, analysis, and input from others. If necessary, use surveys, consultants, and other resources and tools to determine what has really gotten the train off the tracks before you take action to fix what you think is the problem.
If you really want to fix something—first remove egos and show some humanity. Ask questions—relevant, appropriate questions—and assume nothing. An open mind, positive attitude, and caring approach to the situation will allow you to honestly evaluate and determine the real problems versus assumed ones. When people to open up and share what they know, you can begin to collect the facts you will need to maximize the effectiveness of your training decisions.