A ‘Training Culture’ Critical to Ongoing Corporate Success, Elite Trainer Advises Banking, C.U. Executives

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Dick Kendall, a leading trainer at financial institutions, provides an incisive look at the critical elements of establishing a "training culture" at a corporation or organization. Speaking at the Floyd Forum & Leadership Conference in Austin, TX, in May, he touches on management commitment, curriculum, "training the trainer," internal vs. external trainers, facilities, organizing/tracking/competence and the importance of incentives for trainees.

– No matter how good the trainer, the curriculum, the facilities and the incentives, without a “management commitment to a well-organized training culture,” an organization can expect only negligible benefits, says a leading trainer for financial institutions (FIs).

Dick Kendall of Houston spoke to separate sessions of banking and credit union executives during the 2005 Floyd Forum Leadership Conference in Austin, Texas, in May. He said:

“Management commitment is more than a passing nod to the need for training. It is its dedication and assurance that money and resources, qualified trainers and satisfactory settings, as well as adequate time for training, are integral elements of a first class training program. Thriving, progressive organizations of every size generally make training an endemic feature of their strategic growth plans.”

Kendall, who joined John M. Floyd & Associates of Baytown, Texas, in 1994, is a regularly featured speaker at state and national conventions. He has published numerous articles and a book – “Nobody Told Me I’d Have to Sell” – on the subject of marketing and sales training. KENDALL PHOTO URL: http://www.jmfa.com/DickKendall.asp

Previously, he was a founding officer and director of marketing for Allied Bancshares, Inc. He formed Kendall Marketing in 1976, subsequently working with more than 400 firms to help them increase their sales and profits.

The best trainers at FIs typically have years of in-depth financial services experience, Kendall said. Teaching experience is a plus, but it is generally trumped by “the love of training; being in front of a group.” Hiring trainers from within may accelerate the “message buy-in” of those being trained, but hiring trainers from outside can also bring “innovative, challenging perspectives.

“The best trainers are themselves well trained,” he contends. “By that, I mean they clearly understand the training objectives and know the audience. Their content is organized, timed and has powerful openings and closings. They include trainee participation, a lively use of props and a careful preparation of the physical environment.

“Everything from flexible lighting, sound system and acoustics, and current audio/visual equipment to comfortable seating, HVAC, breaks, bathrooms and refreshments must be scrutinized to engender the best learning environment,” he emphasized. “And the confident trainer always invites a written evaluation to improve every succeeding session.”

Ideally, a top quality trainer also is a superb organizer, “but it takes different skills,” he noted. “The organizer must coordinate training; help develop and follow the training plan; organize training to fit within work schedules, and maintain records of training by individual, department, etc. That critical continuity is practically impossible for the external trainer. A dedicated staff member or Human Resources employee of the bank or C.U. often assumes that responsibility.”

Kendall called curriculum the “heart of training. To be both effective and efficient, you must decide what you want people to know – by department, by job and by experience level.” He believes the touchstones of a valid training curriculum should include:

 Orientation, to quickly introduce new hires into the corporate culture;

 Job skills, the basics of how to do their job;

 Regulations; continuous training in the ever-changing regulatory environment;

 People skills (customer service, management); communication skills with customers and fellow employees; and

 Sales and product knowledge; listening for sales opportunities, knowledge of the FIs’ available products.

Curriculum can be developed in house or from vendors, the speaker suggested, but every bank or credit union should put into place a system of testing for content competence. FIs should track the training received and the competence levels achieved by each participant to measure progress.

“Organizations typically find they get higher involvement and better results when they provide rewards and recognition for individuals completing and successfully applying what they’ve learned,” Kendall said. “Knowledge is power, and incentive programs are like booster fuel when it comes to fully engaging participants in the training process.”

John M. Floyd & Associates (http://www.JMFA.com) sponsored the week-long Floyd Forum, held at the Barton Creek Resort & Spa. The performance improvement firm, founded in 1972, is nationally known for its creation of the automated overdraft privilege program. It has implemented nearly 1,000 variations of its JMFA OVERDRAFT PRIVILEGESM program. JMFA has served more than 2,000 financial institutions in 49 states and Central America, adding billions in increased pre-tax earnings for its clients.

Contact:

Steve Swanston, EVP-Sales

John M. Floyd & Associates

Baytown, TX

800-809-2307

Steve.Swanston@JMFA.com

http://www.JMFA.com

Preston F. Kirk, APR

Kirk Public Relations

Austin, TX

830-693-4447

kirk@281.com

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Preston F. Kirk, APR