Training and Education: Are They The Same Thing?

I’ve heard people say ‘training is for dogs, education is for people.‘ While I think my dogs would be fine with this statement, I’m not.

What is the definition of training? What’s the definition of education? Are they interchangeable like many people exercise them to seemingly be? Or are they in fact different?

Mirriam (Webster) tells us this:


: the action or process of teaching someone especially in a school, college, or university

: the knowledge, skill, and understanding that you get from attending a school, college, or university

: a field of study that deals with the methods and problems of teaching


: a process by which someone is taught the skills that are needed for an art, profession, or job

: the process by which an athlete prepares for competition by exercising, practicing, etc.

Are these people being educated or in training?

Are these people being educated or in training?

I agree with Mirriam. Me thinks they are different…and yet we do use them interchangeably. Why is that? Perhaps because no one has put any sort of grounding appendage down firmly to state “this is only what education can be, this is absolutely what training is.”

In a way it doesn’t matter. In another way it does. The Power Of Words does make it matter.

As a professional educator and trainer, I want to know the difference. It alters and guides my perspective, goals, and tactics to accomplishment. Having just given another workshop on the Power Of Words, I know in fact that they do differ and the difference is important and distinct however seemingly innocuous or subtle. The difference is still there. Otherwise they’d share the same exact definition. 

Cheers to education and training. Employ them both as tools and partners for success.

p.s. Here’s a thoughtful video about the power of words

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Wolfgang Burkhart Is Right

In one of his recent editorials in the Institute of Brewing and Distilling magazine, the topic was Training and Qualifications: Always A Good Investment.

“In the area of technical jobs, Germany’s dual system of training has proved very effective. During their three-year apprenticeship with a company young people also attend a vocational school where they can learn the necessary theoretical framework.

P1100207In the existing system, technical colleges, which provide practical and application-oriented training, and the more academic universities complement each other excellently in theory and practice.”

Partnering the two – practical and academic – is critical for success. You’ll never learn everything you need to know to get by in the actual world by learning only in a formal class room or similar setting. And we’ll never get the necessary academic side of life if we never darken learning situations, whatever they may look like today. The real world is just that: real. And needs to be touched, smelt, felt, dealt with and learned in.

“Naturally a lot of investment is called for when developing and expanding a comprehensive and socially open educational system like this but what better way for modern, forward-looking societies to invest their resources than in educating the next generation.”

Prost to that.

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What Makes A Place Return Worthy

Yesterday, I dumped on an exceedingly poor experience. Today, let’s shine some light.

If you read this and say “Ah! These are no brainers” then don’t tolerate it elsewhere either! Speak up – if you’re in the craft/beer community, say something so this does not get repeated (it was an embarrassment).

Okay – what to do:

1. Curb appeal – like it or not, it matters. Make sure your place looks inviting, the lighting is appropriate and not ugly, ugly industrial, too high, weak, fluorescent or otherwise bad. Curb appeal infers you care.

An excellent customer experience can be had at The Publican in Chicago

2. A sign to indicate you’re open or not needs to be nice and readable, not the $2 hunter orange and black variety. Geez, you put so much into your beer (theoretically) why skimp on a bad sign that turns people off?

3. Smell. What does your place smell like – and you can’t be the one to answer it. You smell it so often you’re immune to it. Ask others. Fresh, yes. Like beer is brewing – yummmm! Like industrial pine cleaner (horrific on a taste experience) or urine or garbage, bad bad bad. Clean it top to bottom with your crew 1 – 2 times per year. When everybody cleans it, everybody keeps it cleaner.

4. Clean fixtures – tables, chairs, floors, baseboards, bathrooms. Clean Clean Clean. Things should look, smell, feel, and be clean.

5. Only serve quality goods – beer and food. Simple is good – a simple fresh bowl of pretzels will always be better than a poorly executed and wasted dish of some other ilk. Don’t insult your beer by serving sub par foods.

6. Service. The very words connotes that you will indeed be served – whatever your model looks like. Drill home the servant mentality, train, teach everyday, reinforce, retrain, reteach, reinforce, rinse repeat. the passion for the customer has to come form the top too.

7. Value. Value = experience + company + environment + time spent + dollars. Get all the pieces right and it’s a fit. Get any of them wrong, then it’s time to evaluate and start over.

8. Training and education, leadership and guidance are critical pieces of the pie if you’re a one person show or if you employ hundreds. People love to patronize well run operations. Give them lots of reasons, starting here.

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How Important is Training?

Jim Sullivan has it dead on in his newsletter this month:

“Diminishing returns: When times get tough the first thing inept operators do is penalize the customer by cutting labor or training. If you’re “saving money” by not training and then seeing your sales shrink, remember that it’s not what you pay people, it’s what they cost you.”

Training your people – from the CEO to the floor sweeper (sometimes one and the same!) – is critical to the success of you and your consumer. When you don’t invest, you don’t get the return. And they certainly get way less than they want and what you (hopefully) want to deliver.

Train your people (you too)

Yes, some investments take longer, have a slower upward trajectory and take a while. Regardless, when you’re training, you’re moving forward. A long term investment is the one that will yield the best results.

The message you send as a company to your people and to your consumers is powerful. It tells them “we want to be successful through our people.” Not “we’re too stingy so the same old crappy service will be here for you indefinitely.”

If you were the consumer, which kind of place would you pick? Always remember to put your selves in consumer shoes when making impactful consumer decisions. You are not the consumer.

Start your training plan today. If you have one, reexamine it and refresh it for relevancy and accuracy and appropriateness. Bring in a fresh perspective to help by hiring a knowledgeable consultant, inviting other members of the industry you respect to review your program or help develop one, tapping into your professional industry organizations, and asking your consumers.

Consumer science is what we’re talking about, not rocket science. Frankly rocket science is way simpler – rockets don’t have opinions and thoughts. And consumer science is sitting right in front of you, waiting for engagement.

Consumers want to buy from engaged businesses – from their beer to their widgets to their socks. Give them a reason to patronize you and they’ll reward you over and over and over. Train your people.

Now, back to that training program review…

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Beautiful Beer Deserves Beautiful Photos

A big hearty thanks to George for these incredible, lovely, delicious photos. Check them out here.

p1030147They’re from one of several educational employee sessions WEB partnered with at Standing Stone Brewing Company. Alex and Danielle run a good ship and realize that constancy to purpose with reinforcement and refreshment is critical to continued success and growth. Throw in happiness and satisfaction factor and you’ve got a no fail. What a great crew.

George, next time I’m in Ashland, beers on me – and bring that fabulous wife of yours too.

(I understand he plays a mean guitar as well….)

Good beer, good people good business, good music.

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Standing Amazed

p1030175An enormous and humble THANKS to Alex, Danielle and the entire crew at Standing Stone Brewing Company for their hospitality, attention and good humor. They invited me to come to beautiful Ashland, OR last weekend on the trip to do some work together.

The crew, lead by Alex & Danielle, was very receptive, open, had great questions and in general it was a smashing success (ask them – they’re honest folks).

We covered:

1. The Customer Experience – customer service refresher & reinforcement; development of a Customer Service Committee (brilliant idea)

Sustainability wheel at Standing Stone

Sustainability wheel at Standing Stone

2. Beer – Women & Beer (educational beer dinner for female staffers and a few select guests only), Beer education for the whole company (FOH & BOH with a professional brew master as well), and a Beer Advisory Panel.

3. Long range planning

The facility is quite lovely, a comfortable size and has generous outside seating. Their sustainability practices are many and pride in what they do shows.

Are they perfect? No. Do they know that? Yes. That is exactly why Alex invited me in. To help the upward curve – to better serve the customer and in doing so, they better serve themselves.

The original Win -Win.

My stetson tips to Alex, Danielle, Diane, Rachel, Matt, Ashley, Michael, Anna, Javier, Carlos, Alberto, Erik, Adam, Alicia, Lindsey, Alison, Mike, Tim, Andy, Melza, Jeff, Ken, Rob, Karen, Don, Thomas, Meg, Sophie, and the rest. Hope to see you all again soon.



Follow Up From Yesterday

One more thing from yesterday’s idea stream…

When you train staff, employees, associates, distributors, whoever – make sure you compare in a reasonable way.

Example: do you compare a lager your have on tap that less people may be familiar with with Budweiser? If it’s accurate, fine. If is not, not fine.

Let me ask you this on that note – would you compare your ground beef burger to McDonald’s?

Bad and inaccurate comparisons are damaging all around.

Message: Make sure comparisons are accurate. Better yet – learn and teach how to describe each beer at it stands on its own. Describe flavors, foods it goes well with and the why.

VOILA!! Give your beers the respect they deserve. Give your customers good education by properly educating your staff first.

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What Are You Doing?

What are you doing to authentically attract female market share to your beers?

p1020002Here are some questions and pointers to get you going in the right direction today.

1. Above all, be yourself when you do any kind of marketing. Sounds like a no brainer? Well, don’t change your colors, your tagline, your ‘youness’ – be you. Authenticity is enormous and critically important.

2. Where is your brewery or brewpub located? Where can women find your beers? Who lives in the neighborhood? Who are you trying to attract and why? Does the ‘who’ align with the ‘how’ you’re doing it?

3. What do you have available? Are your staff really knowledgeable and up to date on what the heck you make? When’s the last time you had refresher training?

4. Do you know your market? (this should be number one ALL THE TIME.)

When you have figured out your market share, then you can pursue it. Before that, get to know it. There are multiple ways to do this. Find someone (like a consultant who specializes in this area for instance) who can help properly id your market, or what market share you want to pursue and how it aligns – or doesn’t – with you.

I’m guessing you didn’t choose to buy inferior beer ingredients. So do your homework on earning female market share. Now.

Get it right from the get go.

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