Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Finding What You Need to Learn

Every job, from garbage collector, to accountant, to professional football player, entails a certain set of skills that need to be learned. That's just the basics. To get really good at your job you have to work on those skills and take them to a whole new level. In sports even professional athletes run through drills to continually practice, and improve, even the most basic skills. In business, those drills are missing.

In the military, units will go through complete missions in real-time just to make sure they have it down. And they should. Lives are at stake. How often does your sales force practice their presentations with a hostile audience? When was the last time your IT department simulated a complete catastrophe to test your disaster recovery plan? So, how do you know if it's actually going to work? The time to find out is not when it happens. In fact, you should be training your staff so that the real thing seems like a walk in the park! How many people have quit your company because your training program is too hard? Why not?

Every job has a certain set of skills that are required to do that job. Identify those skills and then drill them into you and your staff. Find a coach. You need to get instant feedback to know what you're doing right, what you're doing wrong and what you need to do to fix it. Training should not be a one week a year endeavor. Training should be going on daily.

At the 2008 Summer Olympics Michael Phelps was only in the water for 24:50.18. That's the total time he was in the water, preliminary heats, semi-finals and finals. It took him less than half an hour to win 8 Gold Medals. It took very little time for the payoff. Now, go look at his training schedule…Do you even remotely train that hard for your job?

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