Welcome to Part 2 of Writing Amazing Job Instructions. I'm so pleased that you have continued with this course so you can improve your skills as a supervisor or front line manager. Whatever your title, if you have to instruct people as part of your job, what you learn over the next two weeks will make your job easier and help your team perform better.

In most training, you've probably seen the instructor say "Oh, I forgot to mention..." and then go back to something they should have mentioned earlier. You may have also had instructors go into very fine detail in some parts of the instruction and skip over big matters in other parts. That is the most common sign that the instructor doesn't know the three kinds of information that have to be included in every job instruction. Because when the instructor isn't aware of these three kinds of information, they get mixed up in the presentation. That makes it harder for people to learn, harder for them to remember, and harder to do the job correctly.

Here are the three kinds of information:
1) Important Steps - these are big logical advances in the work. The product is noticeably closer to what the customer wants at the end of the important step. Often (but not always) you could hand off the work to someone else between important steps. For example, installing a sub-assembly might be an important step. Picking up a wrench isn't, and probably not tightening bolts either.

2) Key Points - Key points tell you how to do an important step so it will be done correctly. Key points tell you the things you have to pay attention to so you do a good job. For example, if installing a sub assembly is an Important Step, key points might be that there are five bolts, and that each bolt needs a certain torque. 

3) Reasons - Reasons are just what they sound like: the reasons why you need to do the job as set out in the key points. So every key point has a reason. Often the reasons describe the consequences of not doing it that way. This is the most neglected part of most job instructions. But it turns out that if people know why they're being asked to do something a particular way, they're less likely to take shortcuts and skip over something that matters.

As an instructor, you need to be clear about the three kinds of information for the task you will be training. In the rest of the course we'll spend more time on each of these elements so that you'll be able to spot them and use them to help the people you instruct.

There is one other benefit from looking at things this way. It makes it much faster to put together a job instruction. I have one manager who tells me it now takes her half the time to prepare a job instruction compared to what it used to, just because she uses this system to break down the job.

Go back to the job that you are using as your practice task, and try to pick out one important step, a couple of key points and some reasons. Remember, Important Steps answer the question, "What should I do next", Key Points answer the question, "How should I do it?" and Reasons answer the question, "Why should I do it that way?"

Thanks for being part of the course. 

See you next time. In the meantime, if you want to have a conversation about how the performance in your organization can improve dramatically by increasing the skills of your supervisors and front-line managers, please click here.

Good training!

Hugh Alley
First Line Training Inc.

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