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great nuclear training organization

Achieving Excellence in Nuclear Training: 4 Key Elements

great nuclear training organization

In the pursuit of excellence in nuclear training, it’s essential to identify the core elements that elevate a training organization from good to great. With a rich background in nuclear power and adult education, I’ve distilled these elements based on industry best practices

What are some of the elements that make a training organization great?

After a career of training in nuclear power, the transmission industry, the military and commercial adult education, here’s some thoughts on that question.

 aligned to nuclear training needs

Fundamentals of Excellence in Nuclear Training

Step 1 – Get Aligned With & Responsive to the Needs of the Line Organization

The best training organizations are closely aligned with the line, actively work together to solve problems and achieve their goals.

Understanding their problems and using training creatively to help people improve their knowledge and skills is routine business.

They don’t use the training process as an obstacle to deliver what’s needed (you’ll have to fill out all these forms before we can even start) or offer the solution too late (it will be 6 months before we finish the needs analysis).

After training, workers come back to the shop smarter, perform better, and can do new tasks. It adds value, and that encourages the line to be active and engaged in training. They also analyze the challenges and know when training isn’t the answer.

continuous improvement

Step 2 – Create Sound Processes That Are Clear & Easy to Use

In the nuclear industry we all have training processes that are similar, but it’s how the organization executes them that makes the difference.

When executed consistently well, the outputs produce the best decisions and training products that make the workforce better.

Experience shows that organizations that are not attentive to their processes eventually experience problems that take away from delivering impactful training solutions to their customers.

continuous improvement

Cultivating Excellence in Nuclear Training Through Continuous Improvement

Step 3 – Combine Great Self-Evaluation & a Willingness to Continuously Improve

This takes time, resources to prepare and execute well.

But it needs to be routine, ongoing, and result in finding gaps and worthwhile improvements.

Routine observations of processes in action (not just the delivery of training), assessments, benchmarking and engagement with the rest of your industry all contribute to recognizing where you can do better and closing the gap.

In the long run, doing this well will enable training to continually add value to your organization.

nuclear organizational leadership

Step 4 – Leadership by Example

Follow me! Professional trainers who deliver great training and model the best performance.

The U.S. Army infantry school at Fort Benning Georgia has a simple motto – “Follow me!”

Young recruits start boot camp with all kinds of backgrounds, personalities, and physical abilities.

Yet after 12 weeks, they all look alike, march together as one, are in great physical condition, and have acquired the technical skills to win in combat.

This happens because their trainers, the drill sergeants, model the behaviors, skills and attitudes the recruits need to be successful.

The sergeants are credible, they know their stuff, and don’t compromise on what they expect. The recruits look up to them and often want to be like their drill sergeant someday.

The drill sergeants can rightfully point to the patch on their shoulder and say “Follow Me!”

When you have trainers that are committed to the success of their students and model the behaviors and skills we expect so that new employees or experienced workers look up to and respect their trainers, you’ve got a great training organization.


Pete Knoetgen

Comments (10)

  1. Billy Mack
    February 11, 2019

    Great article Pete. Step 4 is definitely the bow on the package. Without leaders that model the right behaviors, it’s all lip service.

  2. Pete Knoetgen
    February 12, 2019

    Thanks Billy, you guys polished it up nicely

  3. Jason Smith
    February 12, 2019

    Thanks Pete for the insights. Working with you has been a tremendous honor, your knowledge of training and systematic processes is second to none my friend. Look forward to seeing you again out there!

  4. Bonny Carrier
    February 13, 2019

    During my 20+ years of nuclear training I found that it was always assumed that line leadership knew what their role was when they were given a training program. In most cases, they were too dependent on training to hold together their programs. I started training the line and training on who has what role in each part of ADDIE. It gave the line and training relationship better alignment, thus giving the training programs a stronger foundation.

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