“You reap what you sow”. I heard this saying many times when I was growing up; but I really did not fully comprehend its true meaning until later in my adult years.
This is why I truly believe you need to ‘sow’ quality training and professional development into your K-12 FNS program.
Let me give you a quick analogy. Let’s take a look at a farmer who harvests corn. This particular farmer has a barrel full of kernels that he needs to plant in order to reap his harvest. The crop he yields will feed his family and basically-“keep the lights on” throughout the year.
Well, let’s say that our farmer recently read a report indicating there would be inclement weather throughout the growing season. As a result and to “play it safe”, this farmer decides not to sow any seeds.
Time passes and harvest time comes. Other farmers are doing well and are prosperous because they planted their seeds in spite of the weather report and yielded a good harvest. Our farmer (on the other hand) has a barrel full of dying kernels and nothing to harvest. You can image, how his story ends.
So, let me bring it home. Traveling around the nation, I consistently come across K-12 programs who do not invest in QUALITY professional development (PD) for their staff.
While it is great to have a motivational speaker (from time to time) ask yourself, behind the “in the moment”-warm and fuzzy feelings, are these individuals giving you the SEEDS (or substance) to take back to your team and plant? I’m talking about…real world, tried, tested and proven practical strategies to implement immediately. Does the motivation achieved during the session carry over and help you stay focused on initiating positive changes in your program?
Are you brining in trainers and facilitators who can not only inspire your staff, but also motivate and educate them? I am a trainer with noteworthy experience in the FNS field, someone who has walked this journey, as you have, and is able to support current FNS efforts with an incredible track record.
Ask yourself this question. How much have I spent on training this year? How has this affected your staff and their performance? Does it align with your goals? Remember the farmer? …you get out what you put in, you really do reap what you sow!
Here’s what I mean. If you spent, say…$10,000 over the course of the school year on quality professional development, you should be able to see a significant return on this type of investment (ROI) reflected through your FNS staff and operations.
To be honest, just like anything else we value, there is truly no way to cut corners and get around making this investment if we really want to improve our performance. We have to invest in the things (our homes, vehicles, family, health, future, etc.) that are most important to us.
If you are struggling with a disgruntled manger or staff member, it could infect your entire team. Then consider how much PD these individuals have had that is aimed at improving their work, their environment, and the overall performance that brings positive results. Continual training is a must in any profitable organization.
When I worked for a large entertainment company in Orlando, FL, we spent three months in training (during our probation period) and our team was also provided ongoing training for both staff and management.
According to this company, their PD structure is one of the reasons for tremendous success. I have personally developed, or provided training for my staff, which resulted in a 46% increase in participation!
For that reason, I can honestly and confidently tell you that you reap what you sow! Take a step back and consider what options you need to implement to give your team the professional development they need to effect growth and quality in your foodservice program. Happy planting!