Quarterly training is an essential but at times confusing process. Here’s how the scalable cannabis industry training works… we all know how important training is to set the stage, scale a cannabis business, keep your sanity, and prevent a TON of confusion for your team members.
No doubt, you’re probably doing some version of training already, but I encourage you to stop and think… how effective are your training strategies? If you’re anything like us, your version of training usually came in the form of annual training that’s typically required for compliance.
But here’s the thing…
Annual Cannabis Training Sucks
Most of the annual plans you’ve put together in your time as a leader has turned out to be, well, garbage. We’re convinced it’s not just your fault… three (3) reasons why annual training sucks:
1. Annual Training Unpredictability
Without fail, every time you make it into March or April, and your annual training plan was no longer relevant. For whatever reason, be it new cannabis compliance regulation, a great sales that changed your training budget, or… ahem… a massive pandemic 👀, your plan just didn’t apply anymore.
The reality is there is just too much “future” to try and account for when training twelve (12) months at a time. And unless you have a whole team dedicated to revisiting, updating, and shifting that plan, there’s no way it can stay up-to-date with the changes constantly happening in the industry.
2. Unfocused Annual Cannabis Training
When you have a whole twelve (12) months ahead of you, it can feel like you have lots of time to “get on track” or “catch up.” But before too long, you’ll soon realize that you are getting behind on your benchmark goals and your whole cannabis industry training plan is now completely shot.
Believing the myth that “it will get done later” can really shoot you in the foot. Even if you start off strong, chances are in a few months, people will feel burnt out achieving this huge, year-long goal.
3. Uninspiring Annual Cannabis Training
Inspiration strikes in short-term and long-term goals. But one (1) year is kind of the “Spork” of time frames – not quite as effective as a spoon or a fork. Malcom Gladwell says that it takes 10,000 hours to master a goal. That’s about 3 – 5 years if you’re working a typical 35 – 40-hour workweek.
That means a year just isn’t enough time to cast a big vision and actually achieve it! That’s why we like to make 3 – 5-year vision goals. But what about those tactical, action-based goals that bring us closer to achieving that vision? Here at Green CulturED, we plan training in ninety (90) day increments.
Quarterly training is way more effective when it comes to making and achieving action-based goals.
- It’s Predictable: You typically know what’s going down over the next three (3) months, and what your cannabis team members are capable of achieving in that specific timeframe.
- It’s Focused: With fewer projects and less time to waste, your teams in the cannabis business are more focused, more enthusiastic, and more efficient with the daily work they do.
- It’s Flexible: With four (4) “reps” of training in one (1) year, there are way more opportunities to pivot effectively without feeling like you wasted a whole year on goals that went sideways.
- It’s Urgent: With a shorter timeframe, that feeling of momentum (when everyone in the cannabis business is on a collective sprint to meet the goal) isn’t just reserved for November and December. With 90-day training plans, you basically get four (4) Christmases a year!
Sounds good, right?
Here’s How You Can Implement Quarterly Training
Quarterly cannabis training is a two (2) phase system here at Green CulturED:
- Phase 1 is training planning: every quarter the leadership team needs to have a meeting, where you get together to plan next quarter (try our “Quarterly Training Worksheet”).
- Phase 2 is review training and approval: once we have a plan in place, we run through a training approval process that incorporates all levels of your cannabis business.
Let’s start by reviewing phase one (1)…
Phase 1: Training Planning
After playing around with a few different versions, we found that this “Quarterly Cannabis Training Worksheet” was the best way to represent all the essential cannabis training elements you’ll need to plan for each quarter.
If you’ve got a bigger leadership team at your business, sometimes it’s easier to draw this chart out on a whiteboard so you can ideate and develop your plan.
Let’s walk through the five (5) steps…
Step 1: Clarify Time Period
Your first step is to fill out your company name and the time period. This is mostly for housekeeping purposes, as you may have multiple business units in your cannabis company. You’ll want to fill out this sheet for each business unit and for your overarching holding cannabis business (if you have one).
Step 2: Choose Theme
The next step is to decide on your overarching theme. Don’t confuse this with your goal. Think of your theme as your battle cry or slogan. The theme is meant to set the stage for your quarter and rally your troops with something they – and you – can get behind for their professional development.
Here’s a few examples…
- “Reducing Risk”: it is CORE to cannabis workplace operations to make sure it has safe and healthy working conditions… this can be achieved by training and enforcing standards.
- “Systemize & Scale”: for times when maybe your team is lagging behind and needs to come up with some systems and processes to help scale your training efforts to “upskill” everyone.
- “Increase Profitability”: for times when you’ve already grown a strong customer base and the next step is usually to start some “soft skills” training that creates more profitability.
- “Survive & Thrive”: for when times get tough and the best training plan is to just focus on more sales as well as start more manager skills training for your business’ future leaders.
Your theme is there as a way to anchor all the plans, goals, and metrics you set for that period.
If you can’t come up with a theme, skip it and come back after completing the rest of this sheet. Often times, your theme doesn’t become apparent until after you’ve thought through the specifics.
Step 3: Select Success Training Metrics
Here’s the thing. There’s advice out there that says you should pick one (1) training metric to focus on, but as you probably have found that even if you tried, you could never land on just one (1) metric.
It is just too hard to do when it comes to tracking training metrics.
Instead, I encourage you to narrow yourself down to 2 – 4 critical metrics you need to understand and focus on in order to realize the vision behind your theme. By choosing specific metrics, rather than just a generic goal, it connects your theme but makes it more objective and action-oriented.
It isn’t always clear how to actualize a vision, but we do know how to move the needle on metrics. When choosing your metrics, it isn’t about creating new ones to start tracking. It also doesn’t mean you’re going to stop tracking all your other training metrics that are required in your business.
You’ll simply want to pick a few metrics you are already tracking and hone in on them, channel your efforts, and plans around improving those results. Once metrics are chosen, take the average of each metric from your previous few months, so you have a good idea of what that metric looks like.
That will be your “Actual.” Then, set your “Target,” or goal for this quarter. The difference between your actual and your target is your “Gap.” You’ll know you have set the right targets for your cannabis industry training metrics when you can confidently say the following statement:
“If I can bridge the gap between where I’m at now, and my target, that means we’ve made the progress needed to achieve our overarching theme.”
Step 4: Identify Strategic Pillars
Next, you’re going to dive a little deeper and come up with 2 – 3 strategic pillars. Think of your “Strategic Pillars” as sub-themes. Again, these are more subjective, meaning they can be interpreted in a couple of different ways. Subjectivity helps breed enthusiasm and buy-in, as it gives people an opportunity to think big about how some quarterly cannabis training can make a massive impact!
These “Strategic Pillars” are there to further unpack your overarching theme. If, for example, your theme is “Scale-Up,” one of your sub-themes could be “grow the team.” This could be interpreted as:
- Hiring and training more people
- Growing the team’s “soft-skills”
- Adding on more responsibilities and tasks to your current team
The point of the “Strategic Pillars” is that they provide a bit more direction and purpose for your next step in the quarterly cannabis training process: crafting the key cannabis training initiatives.
Step 5: Brainstorm Key Initiatives
At this point, it’s time to make the sub-themes objective, or specific and actionable. You already know:
- What your overarching theme is
- What Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) need to improve to achieve your theme
- The sub-themes you need to address
Now you need to identify what projects need to be finished so that you can move the needle on your metrics. Your key initiatives are the critical projects and high-value activities that, if completed, close the gap on your success training metrics and achieve the goals behind your sub-themes.
Once you have written out all the different projects and action items for each pillar, you have completed phase one of the training process! But your leadership team is only one facet of your business. In order to actually achieve your theme, you’re going to need buy-in from your teams.
That’s when phase two (2) comes in…
Phase 2: Review and Approval
Now that you have your plan thought out, it’s time to get team feedback. This approval process breaks down into a four (4) step system of “checks and balances” in the form of feedback and revisions. Here’s the breakdown…
- Quarterly Training: This is the first step where the leadership team meets and fills out the “Quarterly Training Worksheet.” Once it is filled out, it gets passed down to the team.
- Key Initiatives: From there, the team leads to review the document with their team and offer any additional or alternate key initiatives. This exchange is important because the team leads know their workload better than anyone, so they can help provide some much-needed context/accountability for what is actually doable for their team, and what may be forgotten.
- Integration: Once the leadership team receives all the feedback, they move into integration mode. This is where you go in and make the tough decisions, reprioritizing, and integrating the different key initiatives determined by both the teams and the leadership at your cannabis business.
- Buy-In: Once the leadership team has finalized the plan, taking into account the feedback from each team, they send it back down to the team-level for a final review and buy-in from everyone.
At that point, you can move into implementation. You want to track all of your key training initiatives so it can be used by the executive team to track progress, but you do pull it up at every company meeting so you can keep your teams up to date and ensure everyone is all accountable to your goals.
This is also great for brainstorming or storing other ideas and initiatives that come up throughout the quarter. That way ideas don’t get lost and you have a place to reference when you jump into the next quarterly training sessions (remember you’ll be getting four training “Christmas” a year now).
So, that’s how we do quarterly strategic training at Green CulturED. Building a plan based on broad, subjective themes means we get to think big. Breaking down those themes into actionable initiatives ensures we get achievable, measurable results when it comes to your quarterly training.
And seeking feedback and buy-in at every level of the organization encourages collaboration and excitement so the cannabis industry training actually gets done! So, download your copy of the “Quarterly Cannabis Training Worksheet,” (click here) and implement this process at your next training sessions so you can start seeing results immediately in your cannabis business too.
Let us know what you think.