longest journey on earth begins with a single step."
are given too much knowledge in too short a time period,
panic sets in. Faced with new information, everyone
needs to practice new skills to see which areas fall
into place and which don't.
is much easier to absorb when a clear picture of a
goal is presented. Dr. John Lee, a leading management
expert, demonstrates this in his workshops by giving
groups of participants a 70-piece puzzle to assemble.
is what happens...
views a picture of the completed puzzle; the other
groups put theirs together without knowing what the
finished product will look like. Consistently, the
group with the picture finishes first.
know their goal. They have the advantage of possessing
a blueprint for success which they tackle one bite-sized
piece at a time.
you remember when you first learned how to drive a
you learned how, you were in the "ignorance"
stage. You did not know how to drive the car and you
didn't even know why you didn't know how to drive
it. When you first went out with an instructor to
learn how to drive you arrived at the second phase:
couldn't drive, but because of your new awareness
of the automobile and its parts, you were consciously
aware of why you couldn't. At this point, the "awareness"
stage, you at least realized what you had to do to
acquire the competency to drive. You may have felt
overwhelmed by the tasks before you, too, but when
these tasks were broken down one by one, they weren't
so awesome after all. They became attainable.
by step, familiarity replaced fear.
in Phase 2, your people need to feel the exhilaration
of small successes interspersed with the inevitable
mistakes that they must make while acquiring new concepts
and skills.... one step at a time.
can a manager move an employee from Phase 1 to Phase
cassettes, videotapes, films, weekly meetings, speeches,
seminars, workshops and other learning aids can ease
employees into awareness. Then, of course, the managers
need to ensure that the newly found awareness (input)
additional practice and guidance, you were able to
become competent in driving the car through recognition
of what you had to do. However, you had to be consciously
aware of what you were doing with all of the mechanical
aspects of the car as well as with your body.
to be consciously aware of turning on your blinker
signals well before you executed a turn. You had to
remember to monitor the traffic behind you in your
rearview mirror. You kept both hands on the wheel
and noted your car's position relative to the centerline
road divider. You were consciously aware of all of
these things as you competently drove.
third phase is the hardest stage.
the one in which your people may want to give up.
This is the "practice" stage. Your employees
will make mistakes here. People tend to feel uncomfortable
when they goof, but this is an integral part of Phase
3. Human beings experience stress when they implement
new behaviors, especially when they perform imperfectly.
As their manager, you must realize that they'll want
to revert to old, more comfortable behaviors, even
if those behaviors are less productive.
manager, you can play a crucial role by helping your
team over the rough spots. It's all right for them
to make mistakes. In fact, it's NECESSARY so they
improve through practice, practice and more practice.
Encourage them over these hurdles, and you and they
will reap the harvest of your perseverance.
as manager is to assist them by again following up
their new knowledge with concrete skill development.
This can take various forms, according to the needs
and wants of the group. Some examples for follow-through
can be role playing; joint sales calls; exposure to
repetitive messages, such as listening to instructional
tapes en route to work; informal workshops to encourage
skill development; or coaching and counseling the
employee to assist in the growth process.
let's return to our car analogy...
of the last time that you drove. Were you consciously
aware of all of the actions that we just mentioned
above? Of course not! Most of us, after driving awhile,
progress to a level of "habitual performance."
This is the level where we can do something well and
don't have to think about the steps. They come "naturally"
because they've been so well practiced that they've
shifted to automatic pilot.
final stage, then, is when practice results in assimilation
holds true for your use of professional training through
the first three relatively uncomfortable processes
of ignorance, awareness, and practice in order to
get to the blueprint for success - the highest level
of "habitual performance." Then they can
use the training techniques naturally and effectively.
If you can get your people to that level, you should
see an increase in their productivity. However, you
and your staff must pay a price to get to this level
of competence: repetition and more repetition.
were learning to drive the car, you acquired your
competency through practice. The same holds true for
work skills. New skills will probably require a change
of behavior from your team's present method of working.
If this is the case, expect to see an initial decrease
is a common occurrence in behavioral change.
as they approach the automatic level of working through
persistence and practice, their productivity will
increase beyond its previous level and reach a new
and higher plateau.
model for success can help you and your people break
out of the rut most of us dig for ourselves. By experiencing
success and encouragement at each level, change can
be exciting instead of intimidating.
bottom line is this.
and attitudes will both improve by taking one step
at a time with you, as manager and trainer, implementing
support systems and skill development sessions along