Cross Training – both the Optimistic and Pessimistic View

Recently I’ve noticed that the views on cross training haven’t changed much over the years. I find it very interesting how some view cross training as an opportunity while others see it as an inconvenience. Realize there are great benefits in being cross trained.

Be Optimistic, You’ll feel better

Occasionally, I drive a shuttle for two different hotel chains separated by 200 yards. Since both hotels are owned by the same person, you can work at either hotel. And just because you are scheduled at one hotel doesn’t mean you won’t be taking care of guests at the other hotel. This flexibility is very helpful to both hotels because the desk clerk at either hotel can call either driver as required. Surprisingly, one day the cross training/flexibility issue resurfaced on how some people look at cross training negatively while others see the advantages for their well being.

Pessimistic View

Here is a good example of a person being somewhat pessimistic in learning variations of their present duties. Although each hotel serves breakfast, there are subtle differences between the two of them such as the layout of the kitchens and the dining areas. I noticed one person I normally see in hotel “A” working in the kitchen of hotel “B”. When asked “Why are you working at hotel “B” instead of hotel “A”? She replied “I was informed that I should work at the other hotel to learn the differences”. I could see she wasn’t happy with the decision so I asked her why. She said “I am not comfortable because things are different from what I am use to”. She continued by stating “I don’t understand why I just can’t stay in the hotel I am comfortable in”. I tried to explain the need of flexibility especially if another staff member called out and coverage is needed. She understood but again voiced her displeasure and preferred working in the kitchen she was comfortable in. In most cases, you have to step out of your comfort zone to learn more, which can be frightening.

Optimistic View

Now here is the example of viewing it optimistically. Coincidentally, that same day I was driving the shuttle to take hotel guest to a software company for training. There are many different modules of the software to be trained in.  There was a gentlemen on the shuttle that was here to learn a new module of the software. Apparently, he stated here several times in the past. A colleague asked him ” Aren’t you tired of learning more and not staying in one area?”  He replied “Actually, I really don’t have an issue with it. In fact, I’m happy about it”. He continued “This additional training only increases my value. It definitely helps my present employer and it will look great on my resume”. He saw this additional training as an opportunity.

As I indicated in another posting, knowledge is not power but it definitely increases your value. Think of it this way: if you were wealthy with money, more than likely you might own a vacation home as well as your main residence. You have more options such as owning a boat, airplane, and/or timeshare. Well, when you are wealthy in knowledge, then you also have more options available to you. If you are highly cross trained, your employer will think twice when times are slow about letting you go. Additionally, the more you know, it will be easier to get a new job. There are many websites available to help train your brain to be more optimistic. Treat your knowledge as a wealth and invest wisely.

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