The Caveman Guide To Training and Development
by Jack Shaw
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From when it all began, learning and experimenting was simple. “I learned that if I sharpened my spear and kept it sharpened I was more likely to kill the first time I threw it and struck my prey.” Sharpen your quest for a perfect training solution! Whether a novice or experienced trainer, or a manager, you will find insights that will change the way you look at training and development forever!
Some days I long for the days of just knowing and doing my part for the cave, but that was a long time ago. It was more basic then. I taught myself. Not really. I observed and modeled the behavior of others, my elders. They knew what to do. Sometimes I saw what they did and thought another way might be useful and tried it. If that new way worked better, I kept doing it that way. If not, there was no point to keeping it.
I looked outside for the best ways to do things, and found others who had already discovered very good ways and copied them. It was simpler that way and saved time. I learned that if I sharpened my spear and kept it sharpened I was more likely to kill the first time I threw it and struck my prey. I already knew where the vital organs were; my father taught me--or was it my uncle? I taught my brothers.
Later, when game was scarce I had to do what the others who couldn't hunt did. I gathered roots, herbs, berries, fruits and vegetables--anything edible--even bark for medicine. Who taught me...I can't remember, but she was old and wise, experienced in the ways.
The approach is a little different by today’s standards. The training know how is all around us, waiting for us to take advantage.
The survival skills we learned in prehistoric times are still valid--only we have labels now.
Training is not just part of a job; it's part of life and survival of the fittest. The fittest are those who keep learning when you don't have time to wait millions of years for evolution to kick in. Sorry, Darwin.
Specialists are great, but thinking outside the clichéd box belongs to those specialists and others who are always willing to learn, always looking for connections; they are the Cave Man learners of today.
What exactly is Cave Man training? As if from a natural point of view some things make sense and others are missing some primal elements. This is a take on modern training as I see it from this Cave Man perspective.
You probably know it as non-traditional training, which is essentially bringing in outsiders, people in related fields, to train in the areas and can provide our company with skills and methods that necessary—and perhaps better—but can be applied to our company for a positive effect.
Traditional training is more about bringing in the trainer who is in our field (in our company) with years of experience and wisdom to teach us the best way to do our jobs. It seems to me the non-traditional trainers should be the Cave Man trainers, those who did it first. They went outside the cave looking for innovation and brought it back, or brought individuals back, training Cave Men or Women to train the tribe.
The fact training is handled the other way around in the modern world should tell us something. A couple obvious points: one is that we have become a world unto ourselves and two is that we are big and have a lot of answers in-house. So, if we’re so smart, why are we afraid to look outside?
Remember, it is the weak cave that is taken over, not the strong cave that seeks to learn from others. The Cave Man equated efficiency with survival, while we worry about the competition.
What I do as a trainer-for-hire is Cave Man training (non-traditional training or coaching) because I apply the techniques of any field that I find applicable in the training environment.
In spite of degrees in English, psychology, speech and theatre, I am and always will be a Cave Man. Talk about roots…
- Jack Shaw, October 2011
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