When Opportunity & Job Instruction Meet

We’re just finishing up another awesome week of TWI Training here in the lovely state of Virginia. Specifically, we’re completing live Job Relations (JR) and Job Methods (JM) training with a room full of Gemba Academy students.

We conducted the JR side of the training in the mornings and then came back together in the afternoon to conduct the JM training. Our good friend, Roger Bilas, came back to help us facilitate both classes like he did with our Job Instruction (JI) course. As I’ve mentioned before, Roger is an incredible TWI trainer and I can not recommend him enough for anyone looking to do in-person TWI training.

And just like we did when we completed our live 5-day Job Instruction (JI) course a few months ago, our video cameras were rolling and captured all aspects of the class. This will allow us to again release two online versions of the JR and JM courses – a “facilitators” version, which will allow folks to see how a live class unfolds and enable them to run their own class, and a “learners” version, which facilitators can use to conduct their own 5-day JI, JR, or JM classes.

During the JM course, we visited an extremely innovative company called TacticalWalls. This company hand crafts home defense concealment systems that allow their customers to keep firearms and other valuables hidden in plain sight. I honestly had no idea how easy it is to hide a pistol inside a beautiful lamp or coffee table!

Our students were able to study, and improve, several processes within TacticalWalls. In one example the “before” process consisted of 36 detailed steps…once JM was applied the new process only consisted of 9 steps! And while there’s still some implementation work needed, a radical increase in productivity is expected.

With all this said, one of the best parts of the week for me personally happened on Wednesday afternoon. A few of us were watching one TacticalWalls employee train another colleague on how to assemble a lamp.

And, as fate would have it, part of the assembly process consisted of tying a Fire Underwriters’ knot! This is the same knot we use during the JI course. Once this training process began we couldn’t help but notice the learner begin to struggle a bit.

At this point, I looked over at Roger Bilas and smiled. Roger grinned right back and immediately asked the folks involved if they’d be interested in learning a new way to train someone on how to tie this knot. Like all of the TacticalWalls employees and leaders we met these two men were totally open and excited to learn.

So Roger assumed his position and immediately began the 4-step JI process. He started by setting the learner at ease and then moved right into the teaching process by confidently working through each important step of the knot tying process.

Once Roger finished the learner asked if he could see it one more time. Roger explained, “Of course! This time I’ll show you the important steps and the key points of the job.” Once he was done, Roger worked through it a third time, explaining the important steps, key points, and reasons for the key points.

Then the moment of truth arrived and Roger asked the young man if he’d like to try it for himself. The young man agreed. Now, in fairness to the young man, a crowd of people had now arrived and Greg, our videographer, was capturing it all on video! There was obviously some additional pressure.

The young man started and you could tell the nerves were getting the best of him, so Roger offered some help remembering the names of the important steps. A few seconds later, the young man had tied the knot with a little assistance.

Roger asked him to try again, this time stating the important steps and key points. It went much better this time and you could see confidence, and belief, growing inside the young man.

After a third time successfully tying the knot, the young man smiled, having realized he could now tie this knot and it took less than a few minutes to learn.

After the excitement died down, and the crowd and video cameras had moved on, I made it a point to watch the young man from a distance. Once he was alone, he grabbed a lamp wire and quickly tied the knot perfectly. He then chuckled to himself as he shook his head in disbelief.

The next day, the TacticalWalls Operations Manager joined our class in order to hear the improvement ideas from our students. Before we started he let us know that the young man was now officially assembling lamps and was doing great with the knot. This made our day!

Please make no mistake…there is no better way to train your associates on how to do a job than Job Instruction. And, obviously, these jobs don’t have to be manufacturing based. JI works in the front office just as well. If you don’t believe me, be sure to check out our two JI courses, where we break all sorts of office-based jobs down including how to add a WebEx Meeting to an Outlook invite!

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1 Comment

  1. Nolan W. Meeks

    April 8, 2017 - 6:36 pm

    Great article and great examples Kevin. In the military we always called it coming close to the wall; to have training as close to reality as possible. This makes it very believable and practice is always perfect with help.