November 3, 2023

Making practice perfect

It often seems like the best kind of training is ‘on the job’.

After all what could be better than seeing what really happens day to day, rather than sitting in a classroom learning theory?

It’s true that theory is almost never actually applied in practice, there’s always some specific quirk that needs to be addressed, and classroom learning is boring.

On the other hand, following someone around for a couple of weeks, or even months, doesn’t necessarily expose people to everything they need to know. And might expose them to much they don’t.

There is a better way to train people, but of course it requires some upfront thinking and design:

First, work out the likely scenarios your business will encounter.

Then design and document your Customer Experience OurScore around these.

Then for each scenario:

1) Get trainees to read the relevant part of your OurScore

2) Let them watch experienced players working through it.

3) Let them practice the scenario themselves, following the OurScore, and getting feedback on their performance from the experienced players.

4) Repeat 3) until you and they are comfortable enough to have a go for real.

5) Start them with a client that you know is a straightforward case for this scenario.

This approach means that new people can build up useful experience of what they most need to know, systematically and very quickly. Because they are already comfortable with the likely cases, they are better able to deal with the inevitable exceptions.

‘Likely’ scenarios can include exceptions people need to know about from the beginning – how to deal with would-be shoplifters, for example, or how to deal with a runaway dog, or a sprained ankle during a dance lesson.

The point is, like driving simulators or sports practice, to get confident with all the basics at the start, in a safe environment, without swamping people with information they might never need.

With a bit of upfront effort, new people can make their contribution much sooner. Which is good for them, and good for you.

Discipline makes Daring possible.

Ask me how.