Training and Education: Weighing Short-Term Pain Against Long-Term Gain

Group of people taking notes outside on a sunny day.

Now that we have entered the lazy days of summer, I find myself faced with a challenge that is becoming more pronounced each year. I always enter the summer with many planned activities and projects, only to discover that the timeline for pursuing my goals turns out to be a bit optimistic. My at-home “employees” (AKA: my children) have varying skills and levels of enthusiasm, which means I inevitably have to include more time than I thought to explain the purpose of our efforts and provide training. Rarely over the last several summers have I accomplished as much as I had hoped to in terms of completed projects.

Isn’t this is a problem we all face in our personal and professional lives when we work with others in the pursuit of a common goal? Not only do we have to identify the steps necessary to complete a project – then we have to explain our vision to our team and ensure that everyone has the tools they need to yield the desired results. Training, while necessary and valuable, often seems to swallow the time of our team at a fantastic rate.

Once we have created a framework for our team to work within, we have to assign tasks, provide a timeline for completion and evaluate the completed work. Since very few of us have the luxury of managing the work of others with no other responsibilities, we also must make the time to complete our own tasks. Just thinking about it is daunting!

However, in the scramble to produce a measurable accomplishment, we must not lose sight of another goal – skills growth and increased competence for all members of the team. Often, I’ve felt that I would be able to accomplish a task more quickly and with better results if I handled it myself. It is tempting to do so, especially when I am in a hurry or feeling the stress of other uncompleted work. This summer though, I am pleased to report that after spending hours in the yard, it is no longer necessary for me to push the lawn mower personally to get an evenly cut lawn. Next summer, I should be able to eschew the lawn work altogether! That will save me hours each week. As each child gains skills and takes on tasks I used to complete, I can shift my efforts to other areas.

Be sure to recognize the myriad benefits you gain when you take the time to train others. You may not realize how much you can gain until you look back at the time you used to spend on a task you no longer need to complete yourself.