A lot happens before ideas become solutions.

At ElixWare we want to bring you more than just great, affordable software. We want to let you know how and why we do what we do.

Our Ruminations blog will bring you insights into how we got here and some of the things we consider when trying to help you run your business. We hope it gives you a better understanding of how we strive to better serve your needs.

And Her Name Was Veronica

Define expectations through training

Close your eyes. Now imagine Elvis Costello's "Veronica" playing on your car radio. As you pull into a parking spot by a dumpster you see her as the radio plays, 🎶" ... and her name was Veronica".

That was a little more than 20 years ago. She was just a kitten then, no bigger than a potato. I scooped her up, along with her brother Louie. The third kitten, Marshall, took another month or two to catch. Nothing was ever easy with Marshall.

I'm reminded of all this by Marshall's recent passing. I had him longer than any other. He was hard to handle, and he never really lost his edge. Though both of us knew it was finally time, it still wasn't easy. But this post is about Veronica and I how could use her Veronicaness at the moment.

The problem? The problem is Dash, a kitten I found running in traffic not long ago. Dash is everything you'd expect a kitten to be. But he lacks a basic understanding of boundaries and order. These, along with taking turns, is what Veronica taught every other kitten who passed through our doors for more than a dozen years. She was determined, effective and a blessing for our rescue.

Several years ago, when Veronica retired, she moved in with a family. They had dogs and a kitten (Veronica had never met a dog before). In no time she had trained them all to calmly eat together, sharing, taking turns and being patient. She was a librarian, lunch lady and benevolent ruler reincarnated as a cat. Patience and protocol were the lessons she delivered in training sessions that really needed to be seen to be completely understood.

She was kind and sweet and so very small, but she never hesitated to offer guidance and training when needed to any animal she encountered. And somehow, they all just listened regardless of age or intelligence or species. She was, well, Veronica.

So why the sentimental journey down litter box lane? Because when I think of training, I'm always reminded of Veronica.

Training and consistency are important. Whether it’s new employees or a new system, never discount the importance of abundant and effective training or you'll end up short changing your staff and your business. Documentation is great and having someone nearby who knows all the answers is good too. But training is essential. That whole "teach a man to fish" maxim really comes into play when it comes to training. It's an investment in your staff, their confidence and their morale.

Good enough is not good enough when it comes to training your staff. You cannot reasonably expect your employees to perform their jobs at a higher level than that at which they were trained. Adequate, sufficient, acceptable? If these define your training programs, then that is how your personnel will perform.

The importance of training is one reason we decided early on that ElixWare would provide targeted desktop training videos for our products. Each client's software is a little — or sometimes a lot — different, which means we need to put together custom videos for each client. First-class training is a core value of our business.

Training videos provide multiple benefits, including:

  • Your staff can train as individuals rather than in group training sessions.
  • No lost productivity while one employee trains others.
  • A trainee can watch all or a portion of each video as many times as needed.
  • Indexed entry points allow your employees to review only the portion of the video they need.
  • Training videos are always available to answer questions or for a quick refresher.

Easy, efficient, effective and economical. These are goals you strive for in every part of your business.

We all want to enjoy the benefits of better staff performance. Training, like many other aspects of our business, follows the adage "you reap what you sow". I often view training as part of a business' infrastructure (and we all know how I feel about infrastructure). If you invest in good training early it will pay you back abundantly.

Defining expectations is important. Whether it's meeting agendas, project requirements, staff performance levels, or even just peacefully sharing a bowl of kibble, send a clear message to your staff about your expectations of competency and proficiency. There are many mediums to choose from, including training videos, webinars, homegrown refresher courses, continuing education, onsite or offsite training, night classes or even a paw across the bow. How we communicate our expectations can take different forms, but they all need to be effective, even if they can’t all be as memorable as Veronica.

prev post: Eli the Giant

next post: The Uncomfortable Truth

more posts by this author

more posts in this section

Contact Us

ElixWare Software Solutions
P: (859) 644-2771


About Us

We are a small team with a lot of experience, specializing in software development, design, and workflow, process & project management. We are fiercely dedicated to helping you do what you do best — run your business — without getting bogged down in the mountains of paper and hours of screen time required to do it. We are equally dedicated to protecting your privacy and your data. Learn more about our privacy policy.