“Why aren’t they doing what I told them”
Ever muttered those words? You know you have. Long ago my first service manager in New York, Bill Vukovich, used to whine constantly to the shop guys: “Buy you books, buy you books — whatta you do? — chew the covers off.?” I was never sure what that meant exactly, except that he was a master tech so he served as everyone’s answer man — easier than reading a clumsy book, which was located who knows where at that minute.
Managers are expected to provide effective and operative communication to the staff. That might encompass setting appropriate examples for chucking things, cleaning up someone else’s mess, breaking up dog/cat fights, or wiping tears from the latest casualty of employment. While these are tough, the toughest has to be successfully teaching somebody to do something right — a simple statement with hefty ramifications and notorious challenges.
Who among us
Grasping information and using it effectively is a trial for the human brain, including yours and mine. For some callous reason our brains are divided into two distinct parts — the left brain and the right brain. You’ve heard jokes about that, but in reality it is a fact. For most normals, the left side of the brain provides the logical thought process. It is judgmental, logical, systematic, and verbal. It provides time orientation, language skills, mathematics proficiency, analysis capability, and the all-important detail processing. This part of the mush is your computer.
On the other hand the right side of the brain provides for creativity. It is intuitive, universal, playful, and visual. It provides fun stuff like emotion, spatial orientation, art & pattern awareness, intuition, and resourcefulness. Obviously, it’s a lot friendlier than the other flank, which can get a little testy in a predicament, i.e. four letter words originate there.
Diapers and learning
To do something right requires some attributes. For example instruction has to be absorbed, sort of like what diapers do — collect and house. Before a manager trains, he or she must be certain that the recipients are in-fact interested in receiving such. Hearing and learning are not the same accomplishment, and too many times training is received as listening but not absorbing, sort of like the results one would get with a plastic diaper — yuk.
Hence, announcing the introduction of the information being trained is vital to the ultimate result. I have found that imparting whatever drivel I have has to appeal so I make it a point to practice WIIFT. This is the art of ensuring it’s all about them (What’s in it for them) rather than the company, customers or me. Think of it as prying open the “right” brain with a verbal can opener. Once the “right” brain is poised to listen, the left brain kicks in and begins to absorb.
Left right left right
Well, it’s one thing to spoon the information into the cranium, but it’s another to get a reflex from the spooning. So, the employee got it, but will they do it? Back to the original muttering “Why aren’t they doing it“? According to the psycho smarty pants of the world, it’s because the purveyor didn’t engage both the right and left brains effectively.
The bottom line is that “hearing” absolutely, unequivocally, must be followed by “doing” (so-called practice by those sporting types). Telling someone to do something differently from their engrained synapses (brain grooves) established over thousands of zaps, just isn’t going tohappen without rehearsing the alternatives over and over. Obviously, this is why football players find it necessary to deliver head slaps by the dozens, just in case.
More is ??.
I am being somewhat tongue-in-cheek here, but after developing and conducting hundreds of training courses over the years (some far more successful than others), I know this to be true. Think of your conversations where direction is being provided as a form of training — what else is it? If you ask the writers to use a defined greeting “Good morning, how can I be of service?” versus “Hey, how ya doin?”, then it must be practiced by instructing the employee to say it (I am told by thick glasses profs) 27 times, so that both sides of the mind are engaged and a new easily accessible synapse is created. This will at least accomplish the “How ya doin, can I service you?” You get the point.
To sum it all up, assume nothing, trust no one, and always drive behavior by your visual of the “completed action” of the “expectation”. Many years ago management pundits exclaimed “Inspect what your expect,” and to that I would add “Tell, then do, then inspect, then do again“. Ok amigo, to complete the concept of the right / left brain learning, throw this magazine across the room. Perfect!