The Power of Do, Do, Do

We take a break from our requirements management run for this blog.  I was talking to an executive about some training for his organization.  He wanted the training to focus on action, on doing (he, in fact, said do, do, do).  He emphasized this very clearly and repeatedly, the action portion of continuous improvement.  This has led me to reflect on my experience.  To be sure we know that we can improve ourselves and our companies through constant learning.  However, learning on its own, will not improve your lot or your companies lot in life.

It is not enough to learn something new if we do not apply this new learning, the learning was an academic exercise.  Learning for the sake of learning is a good thing.  However, you could argue that the ultimate goal of learning could be to help you set and achieve your goals or the goals of your company.  It can be difficult to find time to “do”.  Breaking our old habits and actually applying this new learning can be difficult. There is an old idiom, old habits die hard.  These old habits can impede our application of the new learning.

It is not just old habits that can curtail our execution or the use of this new knowledge.  Sometimes it is difficult to start the application of the knowledge.  We have to think about our work differently.  How can we employ this new skill set?  Often the difficult part is just starting, and perhaps our employees do not really know where or how to start.  The truth is, we need to apply this new learning as quickly as we can to begin gaining experience and confidence regarding the application of the new learning.

This executive knew that training the employees of the company is really only the beginning of our improvement.  If we do not apply what we have learned, then this investment will not be a solution for improving the company.  We need real and tangible action to happen post training.  This executive knew this.  Follow up on the training with hard execution and additional learning through trial and error drive our familiarity with the topic and the methods.  This also improves our confidence, reduces reticence and drives additional learning.  In this case, post-training the executive decided there should be a series of projects applying the tools and techniques of the training.  These projects would be reviewed by the teams to drive the improvement.

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