Wednesday 12 March 2014

Shotgun Training (Part 2 – “Creating a new target”)

Read part 1 here

In skeet shooting, the shotgun pellets can spread to cover an area a large as 40 square inches at 40 yards out (thanks Google).  The clay target is most commonly about 4 inches wide and 1 inch tall. So by my non-scientific reckoning, even when a shot is dead on at 40 yards out, 36 square inches of the shotgun shell’s content does not hit the target.  That’s 90% of its content wasted.

While I won’t claim that 90% of the content of a shotgun training program is wasted, I do believe that much of it is. So in order to reduce this waste and optimise the impact of our budget we are going to spend a few minutes clearly defining the target that we want the training program to hit. This is done with a skills grid.   For our example we are going to assume that we are responsible for ensuring that our Sourcing team has the skills it needs to execute our Annual Sourcing Plan. For simplicity we will focus on the generic (non-category specific) or foundational level skills.

Let’s say our sourcing process looks like this:

The process starts with a simple extrapolation of the high level skills needed to support this process:

Next, we take a look at the Annual Sourcing Plan, which should tell us which resources will be conducting which activities.  Since not all sourcing projects are the same we have some different sourcing processes that we use across different categories, each can have its own skills grid associated with it: 

If we collapse the information in our annual sourcing plan together with the skill requirements for our various processes we arrive at a very powerful document, a skills grid:

Now we are making real progress! Our program has a clear target that has a direct correlation to the team’s business plan.  We know who needs to have which skills, when they need to be in place by and which projects will be at risk if specific skill needs are not met. We aren’t at the finish line yet though, we have two very important questions left to answer, “Who already has which skills” and “How are we going to prioritise our skill investment against the business’s need”.

After all, remember the project needs to move forward quickly and the budget is constrained.   In our next post we will dive into how to answer these questions.

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