Monday, March 16, 2015

Observations, Progress and Habits - Accelerating Learning For Demo Skills

Interestingly, it turns out that nearly every culture around the world uses onions as one of foundation ingredients in cooking.  Why?  the compounds that make us cry when cutting onions become preservatives and/or antibacterials/antifungals when cooked – making cooked food last longer and safer to eat.  How did our forefathers (and foremothers) figure this out?

Many, many (many) observations.  As a result of tracking various ingredients and their impact on dining “efficacy”, people eventually noticed that when onions were incorporated in cooked food, the food lasted longer and produced fewer sick people than with non-onion preparations.  This must have required the observations and experiences of many people over many years – ultimately resulting in developing good habits (“cook with onions”) and progress towards improved living (safer food, healthier people).

Corollary:  The people that didn’t track their observations didn’t come to the conclusion to include onions in their cooking – leaving them at an evolutionary disadvantage (e.g., they died off while the onion eaters thrived, everything else being equal…).

The change from random ingredients to developing and practicing the habit of incorporating onions must of taken many generations – perhaps thousands of years.  (Why?  Because apparently early mankind did not have smart phones to help them remember things…!)

Do you see where I’m going here? 

Developing good habits for demos can take a long time, as well, if we use only our brains to remember the key steps and practices.  However, using a tool like DemoCoach on an iPhone helps us develop great habits much more rapidly than relying on memory alone.

DemoCoach used before a demo serves a similar purpose as a checklist.  (Note that airline pilots, in spite of having flown their aircraft hundreds of times, still use checklists to make sure they have prepared everything correctly before a flight.  Similarly, even after operating this business for nearly 12 years, I still use a Discovery document to help guide me in my Discovery conversations with my customers.)

Here’s an example of why checklists are important:  How many of us took a trip to market without a shopping list (“Gosh, it’s only 5 items – I can remember those…”) and then forgot two of the items that were on the list (“Honey, where is the ice cream I asked for…?”).  Note that NOT having a list doesn’t keep you from shopping; but you are likely to forgot what you came for and bring home items that weren’t on the list in the first place…  (Spouse:  “Honey, why did you buy beer – it wasn’t on the list…” Reponse:  “I thought beer was always on the list…”)

DemoCoach used after a demo provides the observations that drive awareness and the formation of great habits.  (“What did I do well; what could I have done better?”) 

Tracking observations and trying to remember process steps using one’s brain can take years – using a tool like DemoCoach can compress this time to a few weeks… The whole objective is to accelerate learning.

Onion soup, anyone?  

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