Air hostess taught me one of the most important entrepreneurial lessons one night

That night when I was coming from Kerala via Bangalore

I generally don’t pay attention to the announcements on flight. This night was different; I was coming from Trivandrum, it was kind of late night and was too tired to read anything (my fav time pass during journey). We started from our first halt at Bangalore that’s when I paid full attention to this air hostess. I looked at her, she looked at me and then she said few things that I will not like to forget. That’s the night when I learned a great lesson. The life teaches you great lessons everywhere, provided you are hungry and foolish to pay attention to. This lesson is not only important for all Entrepreneurs but also for all managers. Let me give you some hints from my life.

People like training, they want to train others

During my second year of Entrepreneurial journey I used to get many calls for speeches and I generally accepted the offers and given lectures at different colleges and events. I used to prepare the PPTs and share the things we do at office. It used to make me happy as I was trying to help others to run their entrepreneurial ventures. Another instance I can see in office, people will keep taking training for others, “How to arrange projects”, “How to make a project successful”, “SEO process” etc. Even I did (and do at times) the same at different phases of life (esp. in my first company). I used to take many classes for other team members to help them do better job. 

Wondering what Air hostess said

You may be wondering where the lesson is. She said, I mean the air hostess said “If cabin pressure changes, an oxygen mask will drop. Before helping others please put on your own mask …”. Yes, that’s right, the biggest lesson I learned was, “You need to help yourself before helping others”. Does that mean you can never take a class or you should never go for a lecture/speech? No, it means, you need to help yourself understand it very well and then you need to go ahead and explain. You may have to spend 20 hours for a 2 hour lecture, or may be a 2 years for a 2 hours speech.

Explaining what she meant

Let me explain what it means. Say when you are going for a presentation on “How to make a startup successful”, unless you are super successful you can’t share the gyaan but you can certainly say the things that has helped you sail through which some of the people might find it interesting. Also instead of spending too much time in speaking you must help yourself succeed. You need to limit your speeches, you need to select the places you want to go and share knowledge. It is important to help yourself first then you need to help others. I have seen few entrepreneurs who are just in the phase of survival but very excited to make other entrepreneurs succeed. They provide consulting, documents etc. and when I saw that I was surely not happy at what they were sharing. I have also seen some people coming and sharing gyaan about work management, execution workshops, goal setting workshops etc. but I feel it takes years of hands-on experience and reading before you can really help others in this field. It means more inside the office. When you are taking a class, delivering lecture or conducting a training session for others, you need to be 100% clear that you are clear about what you are to speak, how you will make others understand. You need to spend time with documents and structures to help you understand it clearly and then go and help others. Else you are confused and you confuse others. The knowledge is in bits and pieces.

Here are some of the rules we follow at Techshu:

  • The trainer needs to put the goal for the class, what the participants are going to achieve from the class (generally it is to help some people execute it better).
  • The trainer needs to prepare the doc and use the doc to see if it is clear.
  • The trainer is checked by a mentor (Mentor checks whether the goal can be achieved or not). In case if the mentor feels the document, worksheets are not adequate, trainer will be asked to go back and prepare it better with follow up documents, URLs to read more etc.
  • Before the class, the trainer needs to get a code from HR (this documents the lecture frequency) – This is training dashboard to avoid random trainings.
  • During the class the trainer will inform the class that the purpose of the class and that a test would be there after the class.
  • First training – Use the doc and explain how to use it and then email all of the them – 15 to 30 mins (Class over) – Give time to the team. It creates the hunger, curiosity, 
  • Second training (after a day or 2) – The team will have queries, then the class is done for 30 to 45 mins (or more) to explain everything.
  • After the class the attendees will be rating the training session (to ensure we are not wasting time in training).
  • After the class sometimes there are tests (which is prepared by the mentor) – The test scores are the scores for trainer.
  • Trainer needs to follow up with attendees to ensure they learned what they were supposed to with 2 to 3 executions. (Whatever is not followed up will not succeed 

Easy said, it is very difficult to put things in practice, our HR teams are working very hard to improve the training sessions. Also we are cutting down on discussions . We will share the rules for discussions in the coming posts. 

Update: (Added as promised)