Twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, in exchange for a good lunch (my standard “price”) I hang out with the folks from our Service Division and “teach” a class on Excel. When I was first approached to try to help find someone to bring in for this purpose, I laughingly pointed out that I was probably qualified to do the teaching. When they first took me up on the offer, I had to engage in some soul searching…is this really what I want to do for lunch twice a week?
As it turns out, at least so far, the idea is actually GREAT, and for a number of reasons.
- Because the group has some common goals, and common tools (Excel), we just pick a major topic then adjust the class content to fit these real-life examples.
- There are several levels of competency in class which makes for a rich learning experience for all of us (including me!). Instead of splitting the class into beginners, intermediates, and advanced Excel users, we opted to have everyone come at the same time. This way we cover a wide range of experience for a particular topic and everyone seems to get a little bit of what they need. So far, I like how it’s working out.
- Having a group of people that work together every day involved in the class together is so very cool. We can talk about issues, examples, and brainstorm ideas, and everyone is on board with the conversation.
- The class has actually turned into an experience of group problem-solving as much as training. We pull up actual spreadsheets in use by the team and try different scenarios, brainstorm different solutions, and work out solutions that meet the needs of the different roles involved (document creator, spreadsheet user, reporting supervisor, management, etc.).
- Finally, as I look down the road I can see that what we are doing now is building a foundation for providing excellent service to our customers. Building up our skill sets and doing it in an interactive team learning environment makes us better able to serve our customers efficiently, with accuracy, and in a timely manner. Sounds like a win-win situation to me.