Scenario-based training: The best way to know is to do. Over and over again.

The best way to know is to do.

And I don’t mean when my 22-month-old daughter dumps out the cat’s bowl of water all the over the floor — to see what happens.

No, the best way to know is to do is a mantric chant I memorized a long time ago. Doesn’t mean I’ve always followed it, but hey, I memorized it.

How does one get proficient in knowing?

  • Gladwell’s 10,000-hour rule?
  • Reading multiple books on the same subject?
  • Hours of classroom work?
  • Listening to conference presentations?
  • For the “love of the game” alone?

Are some just born to rule the world while the rest of us just dream about what we’d like to be?

I don’t know about that, but I do know that a little of this and a little of that from above can make the difference between knowing and doing.

When I worked in university advancement at SJSU 20 years ago, one of the programs I was responsible for was the fundraising program. Students were hired part-time to call alumni, parents and friends of the university and raise supplementary funds for academic programs.

Training involved studying the phone script, the objections chart and learning all the departments and programs on campus.

There was also role-playing. I would sit on one side of a desk, the student caller on the other, and we’d read through the script, primarily one way.

We found that that wasn’t enough because when they got on a real call for the first time, unless they had natural sales ability, they call went nowhere fast.

So instead we began to role play with the new student callers:

  • In separate rooms,
  • On the phone,
  • Running through various call scenarios randomly
  • While incrementally altering the situations,
  • Over and over again.

Not 10,000 hours worth, but enough “do” to get them to “know” what was coming from call to call. And training continued week after week even after they were making the live fundraising calls.

Scenario-based training has been around for decades and many organizations use it across departments and positions, both in the public and private sectors, the military and more. Commercial airline pilots dramatically reduced the flight error rates when visual flight simulators were incorporated into their flight training.

Just giving your employees a training manual and a talking to won’t facilitate success or safety for them or your customers.

The best way to know is to do. Over and over again.

That includes parenting. While writing this post early this morning, my daughter woke up and called for me (which is a big deal since it’s usually “Mommy!”). She was only a little out of sorts and needed to be covered with her blankets and comforted before falling back asleep.

There’s a lot of “doing to know” everyday for daddy. That’s for sure.

Where are the scenario-based daddy learning classes at again?


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