In an earlier post, I had written about our first training contract. One of the many things that I remember about this assignment was the commitment our client had towards the success of the program.
- The client was a financial services company and for them using Microsoft Excel for detailed analyses and forecasts was very important. Before the training started, the client’s team taught us the calculations and analyses that they did on a regular basis as also those that they wished they could do.
That was some learning for us! We learnt how to use Microsoft Excel for all kinds of advanced data analyses. That helped us a great deal in running our company. 🙂
- The client’s team worked with us to define various groups of users and helped us understand each group’s nature of work. We then worked out a custom course outline for each group.
- The HR and IT teams were very meticulous while putting together batches. They would ensure that all participants in a group were of the same profile, even if it meant sending a person or two less in a batch.
- Before each batch, we had a brief call with the HR team to learn about the role and responsibilities of each participant.
- Most participants came prepared with sample documents, worksheets, presentations, and data. They were very specific about what they wanted to learn.
- Many of the participants went back and shared their knowledge with team members who had not yet attended the training. As a result, many participants of later batches had already learnt and applied the basics, and they came with other, more challenging problems.
We would never know what we would be asked and had to have our wits about us!
- No one was exempt from the training. Even the CEOs had to travel to our office and had to attend the 3-day training. The HR told us that no participants can leave the course midway citing a work emergency. We had to check with HR before allowing the person to leave!
I remember only one senior management person (a VP) leaving the course midway to attend an emergency. The HR was not happy! 😦
- After each batch, we had to submit a detailed feedback of each participant’s strengths and weaknesses (even CEOs), and we received detailed feedback from the participants.
One the lighter side:
- Our very first batch started on a tense note. We thought the batch was to start at 9 AM and were in office since 7:30 AM. However, no one turned up till 9:30 AM. In addition, we could not get in touch with the client’s HR team. We had just assumed that the training was cancelled when the first participant walked in at 9:35 AM. Apparently the participants were told that batch started at 10 AM. Phew! 🙂
- We were so relieved to see the first participant that we set about “doing our job” with enthusiasm and set up about interrogating him (I cannot think of a more suitable term). What were his roles and responsibilities, his expectations from the course, blah, blah, blah…. He was so nice and down-to-earth and answered all our queries patiently. It did not occur to us to ask him his designation or look up the participant’s list. It was, later, during the introductions at the start of the course that we realised he was an Associate Vice President heading a major business line.
Those days Vice Presidents were a rare species.
- We had to reschedule one batch to start at 1 PM because there was an India-Pakistan cricket match.
- We served pre-packed lunch to the participants and this lunch was delivered from a restaurant a few kilometers away. One day, there was a flash transport strike and the lunch was delivered at about 2:30 PM. We manfully laboured on with the training till the food arrived. 🙂
- Our First Training Contract (apanangipally.wordpress.com)
- Our First Technical Writing Contract (apanangipally.wordpress.com)