I recently had the opportunity to attend a professional baseball game in Phoenix. Besides sitting in great seats in an air conditioned stadium (the only problem was the lack of a cigar bar), I enjoyed watching the preparation of the players prior to the first pitch. Guess what? Highly paid professional baseball players were taking batting practice, fielding balls and throwing to warm up. If pro baseball players practice, why don’t professional funeral directors?
I’m not talking about CEU’s where you doodle on the handout and spend most of the session on your smartphone chatting about how bored you are. I’m talking about training. The funeral industry has falsely manifested the notion that CEU’s are training. They are not. They are education. Consider the difference in reading about how to throw a strike from 60 feet versus getting on the mound and actually doing it. Do you think that you may have to spend time honing your craft? Unfortunately, I see and know of many instances where funeral directors are throwing lots of balls nowhere near the plate. Behavior modification is achieved through practice and consistent work on perfecting any particular segment of our business.
I am certain that the “you don’t know what you’re talking about” crowd is reading this with a mindset that redundancy in performance negates the need for training or practice. What if you are doing it wrong in the first place? How many of you offer the GPL at the proper time and in the prescribed fashion required by the FTC? The fact that the FTC reports annually that about 25% of all funeral homes are in some violation regarding the GPL presentation is damning proof. “We’ve always done it that way” does not reduce the fine levied on you by the Government.
We all know that when a funeral director goes into the arrangement room and closes the door, they have their own way of doing things, right or wrong. How many owners/managers take the time to sit in on arrangements to measure performance of things like presentation of the GPL, the discussion of the payment policy, explanation of products, and services? Does your firm even have a standard for the arrangement process that a funeral director should follow? I’m not suggesting “gotcha” stuff; I am asking how do you know WTF (What the Funeral) is going on in there if you don’t take the time to observe? There is a saying “expect what you inspect.” Of course, if you have no road map or process for the director to follow, then Mr. /Ms. funeral home owner/manager…that’s on you.
Here’s a challenge: Tell me what problem in leading a funeral home could not be solved with training and practice? Throwing even the most seasoned funeral director on the mound to pitch a perfect game is not providing the leadership necessary to have consistent success. If you own/manage a funeral home, it’s your responsibility to create a continuous improvement culture. If you are a funeral director and you don’t have any leadership in your firm, ask and take the lead. Taking 15-20 minutes once or twice a week is absolutely possible but only if leadership exists.
Our funeral directors train at least twice per week on a myriad of different subjects for the short time period I described. From the Command Post (West) through the fog of cigar smoke, Cheers Y’all! #thefuneralcommander