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Learning - Step by Step

 

One of the first concerts I ever attended was New Kids on the Block, at Rock n’ Rio in Brazil, when I was about twelve. I would love to tell you that I was dragged to it by my obsessed cousin, but the truth is that they were headlining the night where Snap! And Run-DMC were playing, and come on… I was a 90’s kid. On a separate note, my cousin may or may not have been kicked out of a Menudo’s concert for tackling, you guessed it Ricky Martin. I digress…

The reason I bring up the tragedy that is NKOTB is because their song, “Step by Step”, is a reminder to all of us that success does not happen overnight. It will take hard work and determination, and guess what, you might sweat a little bit getting to the next level.

I spent last week getting certified with Pryor Learning Solutions to become a trainer with their organization. I was excited to be joining a company that promotes life-long learning and that has a pretty comprehensive platform as their value proposition. It aligns perfectly with my values because I LOVE to learn. In fact, if I were to win the lottery that is what I would do for the rest of my life. I would be a professional student. Anthropology, Philosophy, Sociology… I am getting a little flushed just thinking about it (flushed with excitement, you pervs!).

The thing that resonated with me the most during the week was that learning is a stepped approach. You need to start somewhere but in order to be successful you need to keep taking steps towards development. “Step by Step” (tell them Donnie!).

The truth is that in order to be successful in business today and to achieve personal and financial growth, one needs to be in a constant state of knowledge gathering. However, it is not enough to only garner said knowledge, you need to review it and apply it, until it is engrained in that beautiful brain of yours. I recently learned that 40% of what we learn is forgotten 20 minutes after we have learned it. 20 MINUTES! That number jumps to 77% six days later (stats). With the amount of money that is invested in general education and training, it is our duty to not only seek out learning opportunities, but to ensure that they stick.

So how do we do that? Well, if you follow this blog you know that I strive to spread the gospel of living intentionally. Instead of waiting for things to happen to you, make it your mission to take action so that you can increase your chances of success. The same should be done with learning. Instead of just attending a training session, how can you be purposeful and deliberate about the results of the training? Don’t leave it up to your facilitators, subject matter experts and peers. You have the power to ensure that your learning sticks.

Remember when we were learning in school? Did we attend a one day class and then go on our merry way thinking we knew everything about the subject? OF COURSE NOT. We met weekly (if not more) for an entire semester. We read textbooks at night, reviewed concepts in class, applied them in exercises and projects, and then we were tested on our competency. That is how one learns to retain information.

So how come our on the job learning is so different? Why do we specialize in one week trainings, or full day workshops without follow up? The reason most give is that we do not have the time to dedicate to such extensive training. However, not doing so increases our turnover rates and it makes finding the right candidate harder. In fact, most of the time we are setting our teams up to fail because we don’t spend the appropriate time and effort in ensuring that they become successful.

This whole sink or swim thing is boloney. You know what happens when you through people who have never learned to swim in the deep end of the pool? They drown. Even if they don’t, it will scar them for life. If we have the option to teach people to swim before throwing them in, then it is our obligation to do so.

Not only that, it is OUR responsibility to ensure WE are seeking development opportunities for ourselves. Don’t wait until your manager suggests a training class. Go invest in yourself. Then review the concepts. Apply them. Take control of your learning.

Finally, print out a NKOTB “Step by Step” poster to remind you of the climb. It's well worth it. 

Andre Mello is a Certified Business Coach and may or may not have gone into a YouTube rabbit whole watching Snap! Music videos. He has been in marketing and leadership for over 17 years. If you would like to connect with Andre please visit www.wysecoaching.com

 
Andre Mello