#41 - How To Make Learning More Effective


So Aaron shared with me how he took one hundred of their top. GM's for a two day Leadership Development Summit that address topics topics and issues that were of interest to his team. They also have several Ellen de portals where they offered articles videos podcasts which Aaron told me also includes this one to supplement the training session the challenges having now though is how to make sure these new insights are applied and not lost when in these leaders returned to the hectic pace of their everyday work and more importantly. How can you keep them engaged in wanting to learn even more when Aaron aren't asked me this question. I asked if I could share his story because it's a question I've been asked many times over the years when giving keynotes corporate trainings in fact it's one of the reasons one of my leadership keynotes deals with how leaders can shift from simply training employees to creating a continuous learning environment in their workplace so I know there's as many of you out there who are also dealing with this issue as well so what I'd like to do is share with you. Some simple steps that you can take right now that will help make the new the skills and insights. You learn stick to start off. Let me give you a little context to help frame these steps in their book made to stick chip and Dan Heath present. This idea that a sticky idea is something that's understood. It's remembered and it changes something now while their book was about how how to make what you communicate stick with your audience. I think we can all agree that when we learn new skills or insights we wanted to be something that's understood that that we remember it and that it ends up changing the way we work continuing with chip and Dan's book they describe how they are six principles behind what makes an idea sticky eighty and these six principles are simplicity unexpectedness concreteness credibility emotions and stories now while they say you don't necessarily need all six principals to make your message stick. I want to offer you three steps. You can take that will employ the six principles again if we go back to the problem. Erin shared one which other leaders have also asked me about the challenge we face when it comes comes to training or going to a conference to learn new insights to improve the way we lead is why were there we could see the value of these approaches but but soon after we returned to our workplaces these new insights often fade away as we return to the routines of our day to day work lies so the first step you need take is one that. I often get my audiences to do at the end of my talks and that is to identify one simple change. You'll make based on what what you've just learned now. This one thing you choose has to contain two characteristics. I it has to be something. You can start doing now. With these this and second it has to be something that's personally meaningful. The reason stems from the work of two different researchers Stafford behavioral scientists scientists. BJ Fog who found that the key to changing behavior is taking small steps and Harvard Professor Teresa Mobley who was the second guest to appear on on this podcast who found in her research that making progress on personally meaningful goals leads to enduring success and happiness on the job in other words. You want to focus on applying a new behavior or skill. You've learned on something that matters to you you so that this becomes something that you don't have to do but it's something you want to do and this that lines up with the sticky principle support of simplicity as we're focusing on one specific thing that we can do right now that will improve our work in personally meaningful fashion this also ties into the emotion principle because as chip and Dan right this sticky principle is driven by answering the question of what's in it for me me which you've already answered by this exercise of picking that one simple change you want to make thanks to what you've learned so now that you have this one simple behavior or skill in mine the obvious question becomes. How do you make sure you apply it every day. Well that's the next step and for for this. We're going to use the example of very successful person and one of my favorite comedians Jerry Seinfeld well. Let's start the insanity now. It doesn't matter whether you like it or not as this has nothing to do with his sense of humor but more to do with what he's identified as being the key to his success comedian Brad Isaac Isic once as Seinfeld for tips on what he could do to improve his success at comedy and Seinfeld told him that what he needed to do was to commit to writing every everyday because writing jokes every day would help him hone his craft. Now what's the Real Jim in the story is what Seinfeld told Isaac as being how he pushes himself to write every day especially when he doesn't want to basically what Seinfeld does is. He gets a wall calendar that shows every every day of the year and every day that he writes he puts a red X. in the box for that day once he's done that for a couple of days he's created a chain of XS on this calendar and as Seinfeld told Isaac you like seeing that chain especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job is to not break the chain now the reason why this is a great strategy for anyone to us is because it embraces braces something that I'm sure you've all heard and read about gamification as Seinfeld says himself he transformed the task of writing into would game where his only job is to not break the chain now. You don't need to get a three hundred sixty five day wall counter for your office us but what you need to do is get a notebook that you use a journal to just write a quick note of what you did to practice this new behavior or skill the reason why is because you need to be able to visually see this chain growing which is critical for this to work because this allows allows you to shift from focusing on how well you apply this new behavior or skill on a given day to the process of applying it regularly elite and consistently towards making it a habit going back to the principles of making things stick you can see that this step ties into the principle of of concrete nece as you can see visually for yourself how you've applied this new behavior or skill on a given day and also links to the principle of credibility because as you re back how you apply this new behavior or skill and not qualifying how good are bad you were at it you can. I can see how this new behavior or skill can be used successfully everyday and hopefully also noticing some positive benefits growing along on with and this leads to my last step that will help make those new behaviors and skills you've learned stick and this one revolves around one of the points. I share my keynote talk on how the shift from training people to continuously improving talent and that is you need to treat learning as shared experience now to help illustrate rate the value of this step. I WANNA share a story about one of the leaders. I wrote about in my book Leadership Vertigo. Billy Taylor was the plant manager for the Goodyear Vale Plant. When he joined the plant? It was one of the most poorly performing appliances goodyear and was at risk of being closed within two. Oh Years Taylor transformed it into one of the top performing manufacturing plants a good year and was promoted to an executive role at goodyear while there are many things Taylor did to achieve this outcome. There's one I wanNA share in the context of making our learning stick and that is how he put up information boards throughout the plant that identified which manufacturing team was working on a given product line and the level of output. They were creating now the reason he did this was was not simply to hold the different production teams accountable for their productivity but so that's different teams could learn from one another about what they were doing to improve their performance performance. In fact Taylor facilitated this cross learning between teams by putting up other boards throughout the plant that showcase projects is employs initiated improve the plants productivity and cost effectiveness as a result of the lessons. They learned from one another working on the plant floor. Now remember remember that the first step I told you about was to pick that one behavior or skill that you've learned that you WanNa make stick because you not only know no you can make this a part of your leadership tool kit but also because you know it's going to have a meaningful impact on how you perform your job well well. The wonderful thing of identifying this at the start of this process is that it allows you to not only attain some early wins but you also now have something something of value to share with other leaders in your organization in terms of how they can apply this behavior or skill to improve their leadership and conversely when when they share with you how they apply other behaviors and skills to the way they lead you gain better insights on how you yourself can apply these other behaviors and skills to continue learning and growing the key point. I want you to take note of is that learning can't exist in a vacuum or silo but as I pointed out in the first step it needs to be connected both to why you do what you do and how you go about getting things done in your everyday the day work and again going back to chip and Dan's principles of stickiness we can see how this step clearly ties into that principle of stories in how we're sharing sharing our stories our experiences with learning to improve ourselves but it also ties into the principle of unexpectedness because in en- sharing your lessons learned you stand to gain both new insights into how to build on what you're currently doing as well as where you can start next in that process of applying applying what you've learned

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