Thursday, 27 March 2014

Shotgun Training – (Part 4 “Don’t take your shotgun to town”)

Authored by John Shaw

Today’s the big day! We have done the leg work and it is time for us to propose a training plan for our sourcing organization. Now that we are armed with actionable data, we can put down the idea of trying to train everyone on all sourcing skills and take a focused approach.


Take a look at the chart below; I’ve highlighted 6 areas that appear to be skill gaps in the left hand chart and placed them in the table to the right:



At this point we now have 6 education initiatives that we need to prioritize. We need to discuss the risk associated with each initiative. In this example IT services pops out to me as a category where requirements definition and stakeholder management is fundamental to success.

With our gaps exposed we turn to solutions for closing the skill gaps. I think this is one of the most interesting parts of the process because our data provides us visibility into both the strengths and the weakness of the team. By leveraging the strengths of our existing team first, we are doing more than just closing those gaps, we are encouraging a culture of collaboration and demonstrating to people that knowledge and skills are valued and recognized by the leadership team.



If we were dealing with a large number of gaps or you found that your solutions required a budget that you could not afford, I’d go one step further and take a page from Kraljic by mapping the proposed solutions onto a 2×2 of risk and costs. This would help you to determine where there are low risk/high cost gaps that may not be worth pursuing.

So now here you are, standing in front of your team and you’ve given them an overview of the preparation you’ve put into your proposal and the rationale behind each of your 6 proposed initiatives.

What happens next?

A standing ovation of course! Why? Besides an amazing personality and presentations skills, you have set yourself apart from your shotgun wielding predecessors by answering these 4 critical questions:

Which students need which specific skills?
When do they need to use the specific skills?
What skills do they already have?
How are skill development costs prioritized against the business’s needs?

So next time you see someone reaching for that shotgun, take a line from Johnny Cash, “Don’t take your gun to town son, don’t take your gun to town”

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