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Best Training Practices
Will Kenny
3927 York Ave N
Robbinsdale, MN 55422

Best Practices = Lifestyle Change

maintaining best practices is much harder than introducing them

(reprinted from The Training Tipsheet)

At the end of the calendar year, we generally run through a period of indulgence followed by bouts of guilt and resolutions to do better. We eat way too much and spend more time shopping and entertaining than we do exercising. Then, when the holidays pass and the new year starts, we realize how unhealthily we have been living. We "go on a diet" and re-join a fitness club or take up jogging.

Of course, by the time summer comes around, all of those efforts have collapsed.

The people who stay in shape, the ones who maintain their weight at a desired level, approach their goals as lifestyle maintenance challenges. In other words, instead of adopting a radical diet or binge exercising, they do the right things day after day. They monitor their eating and exercising and make small adjustments quickly when they drift off course.

Once your organization identifies best practices that will maximize success, that are crucial to achieving your goals, you need to embed them in the lifestyle -- or "workstyle" -- of your employees. And you cannot do that with a binge of employee communication, or a "crash diet' of training.

I often work with clients who have identified a problem in how employees do things, an external threat they must respond to, or an opportunity to bring staff who are already performing well to an even higher level of achievement. They have typically asked themselves (and me) these two questions:

1. "What is the problem?" (threat, opportunity, etc.)
2. "How do we fix it?"

But they rarely ask the most important question:

3. "How do we keep it fixed?"

I would suggest that any challenge or opportunity worth a significant initial investment of staff time and company money is worth maintaining in the "fixed" state. My tips for "workstyle maintenance":

  • Incorporate the long-term view, the maintenance issue, in your very first steps to address the problem or opportunity. Don't just design training or employee communication activities to "take off a few pounds", look at what you would do after the initial effort to "keep the weight off."
  • Learn from lifestyle change, get inspired by non-business sources. Use your own experiences, and those of your colleagues, in managing lifestyles and compare those efforts to how you're going about training and communication. Read some books on lifestyle change and see how you could apply that in the business world.

Generally, we actually have a pretty good idea how to do this, how to make best practices stick, how to build workstyles that last, if we think about it at all.

Big IF! Make an explicit effort to maintain the changes you promote, or sooner or later, you will be starting all over again.

© 2007 Best Training Practices -- Will Kenny

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