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The Music Teacher was Right

Studies show that within a few short weeks of being taught a new concept, most people have forgotten nearly 98 percent of the original idea. While most business training sessions send attendees home with materials intended to reinforce and re-learn the initial idea, there is nothing in place to give these new skills real-life practice. Like any skill we do not use (algebra, the second language we learned in school), once we stop using it, our enthusiasm fades, it loses its real-life relevance and we forget it. The same fate befalls most 360 and other feedback programs: the energy goes into the collection and presentation of the information, but the conversation most often ends right there. Performance improvement is hit-and-miss.

The music teacher was right – practice does make perfect when it comes to improving performance. Do you remember piano lessons when you were a child? The music teacher had an important understanding: you cannot teach a child everything they need to know about playing the piano in a three-day training session. The piano teacher spent time with you each week, over a number of weeks. Isn’t it interesting that we think the “three-day approach” will work for adults?

Successful music lessons include three key questions:

Why does this process work?

Imagine if all business processes were like music lessons. What would it mean to the results of your business if you started every day by asking yourself those three key questions? The only thing standing in the way of getting improved results is the fact that most of us fall back on old, familiar habits – habits leading us to lose the things we worked so hard to learn, habits that keep us from making permanent, positive, profitable change.

Have you ever attended a management training workshop?

Look at your bookshelf, your credenza, that pile of three-ring binders in the corner, or the box in your basement. How many pages of business magazines, metrics reviews, guides and business books are in those places? When was the last time you looked at one? How many hours have you spent in trying to reinforce, apply and utilize the things you learned in the training?

The real key to the music teacher’s success is an incredibly simple system, well understood in other areas of life. It is this adaptation of a routine:

  1. Setting time specific goals
  2. Deciding what specifically needs to be done to fulfill these goals, and
  3. Constantly updating your plan of action as you grow comfortable with new skills.

How much real benefit have you received from all your investments?

Quit hanging your head; you are hardly alone. We have all left training sessions excited, energized and full of things we intend to change – and then despite our best intentions, the world crashes in around us. We get busy with the activities of day to day business life and the books and magazines go unread, and all that potential is unrealized.

The same thing happens when we invest in 360 degree feedback. Lots of energy goes into collecting the information and generating the reports… the results are presented and them are most often filed away in a dark place. The real value of the exercise, the so what and the now what conversations, as well as the regular discussion of progress, are lost in the busy-ness of the day-to-day.

If you are a business owner, CEO or senior manager charged with the difficult task of developing people or improving performance, you must take a hint from the music teacher or your efforts will be wasted.

Train, practice, reinforce, measure change, train…..

If this mantra makes sense to you, as a CEO, owner or manager, investigate then the Checkpoint 360 program will appeal tremendously, with its built-in goalsetting and coaching components. Taken together, they secure your return on the training/feedback investment.

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