If I Had To Choose Just Three...

February 04, 2013 | 2521 Views

If I Had To Choose Just Three...

Patrick Yearout, FMP, CHT

Director of Innovation, Recruiting, and Training | Ivar's & Kidd Valley Restaurants

At a recent business forum I attended here in Seattle, one which involved trainers from a variety of industries, we started a discussion at my table about the vast number of resources and reference guides that are available for people who work in Training & Development.  Eventually, this conversation evolved into the following question for the group: what are the three most important books you use as a trainer?  I didn’t have to think about my response for very long, since I carry three books in my laptop bag and constantly refer to them, whether I am sitting in my office working on a new training program or out in the field coaching our teams.  If I hadn’t had these particular resources to draw upon over the past few years, I know that I wouldn’t have made nearly the same level of impact as a trainer here at Ivar’s Restaurants.

I thought I would share them with you in this blog post, and please feel free to list your favorites in the comment section below (or better yet, head on over to the CHART resource section and post a book review: http://www.chart.org/resources/book_reviews/).

“Transfer of Training: Action-Packed Strategies to Ensure High Payoff from Training Investments” by Mary L. Broad and John W. Newstrom (1992)

I first bought this book eight years ago when it was required reading for a Training Specialist course that I was taking at the University of Washington, and you should see my copy today; almost every page dog-eared, full of highlighted passages, and the spine is about to fall apart from constant use.  But boy, what an incredible resource; the subtitle does not lie at all.  This book is stuffed full of every conceivable tactic you can use to ensure that the training you deliver in the classroom environment not only makes it back to the workplace, but also makes a difference in the workplace.  It covers strategies that can be implemented before, during, or after the training session by the trainer, the trainee, and the trainee’s supervisor – what more could you want?  If any of you are having difficulty getting your training to stick, this book can definitely help change that situation.

“Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business” by Danny Meyer (2006)

For those of you working as hospitality trainers (actually, for anyone working in hospitality at all), I believe this book is a must-read.  Danny Meyer candidly tells the story of opening his first restaurant back in 1985 and how he grew his business over the next few years, but along the way he generously and articulately shares his philosophy on enlightened hospitality as the secret to his success in the industry.  Although not a traditional resource on training, I’m constantly referring to the lessons imparted by Mr. Meyer when working with our newest managers at Ivar’s because they are eager to learn from the very best.

“Multi-Unit Leadership: The 7 Stages of Building High-Performing Partnerships and Teams” by Jim Sullivan (2008)

I have read this book so many times in the past five years that I know most of it by heart.  Honestly, if you spend any time at all out in the field working with or coaching multi-unit managers or directors, or if you work as a consultant with a franchised organization, this book is your roadmap to success.  Everything you could possibly need to know about revenue-generating store visits, effective local store marketing, serving as a brand ambassador, and recruiting the best people to strengthen your operation is covered in this book in a fun and engaging manner.  I just purchased a copy for a new District Manager at Ivar’s last week, and after reading it he told me: “I had all these questions about the job, and it’s like the author knew exactly what I was going to ask and had prepared all the answers.”

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