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Volume 7  Number 10   |   October 2017

Integrated Learning

People who boast of speed reading don’t impress me, because most don’t come near adequate comprehension. Now, if you want to talk about speed comprehension, you might get my attention.

Learning must be integrated into your unconscious competency. If you had to think about how to tie your shoelace or drive your car every time you did it, you’d have a very long day. That’s not to say we shouldn’t still be careful—pilots go through a detailed checklist before taking off to ensure they’re in conscious competency, and take nothing for granted.

I’ve always felt that people learn by asking questions, but if they keep asking the exact same questions, they haven’t integrated the answers from prior questions. That is, they really haven’t learned anything.

The Shallow End

If you ask me how to open a door and I show you, you should be able to do it yourself the next time. But if you can’t, then you weren’t paying attention, or you can’t retain what you learn, or you’re lazy and simply expect someone else will always do it for you. How else can one explain the fact that people I’ve known for years keep asking me the exact same questions?

For example:

• What do I do if the buyer doesn’t return my calls?

• What should I do if purchasing doesn’t want to honor the payment terms of the proposal?

• How should I begin a meeting with a new prospect?

• How can I tell if this person is really the buyer?

Those are legitimate questions—the first time. They are signs of inattention or sloth after that. I doubt that any of you have to relearn how to drive the car each day, or how to use the coffee machine. So why would anyone have to constantly relearn standard approaches to business?

The Deep End

The way to ensure that you (or someone you’re coaching) integrates learning is to create two conditions:

1. How would you use what we’ve just discussed? For example, at what point and with what words would you determine if the person in front of you is the buyer?

2. Tell me how you would do it before asking me how I would do it. It’s far more valuable for you to express your approach and have me critique it than merely to ask me how to do it. That way, you’re forced to demonstrate what you know.

We don’t help people when we do their jobs for them (just as we don’t help our kids when we do their homework for them). We simply enable their ineptitude (and, possibly, laziness). When we force people to demonstrate learning we can more accurately help them and also place the accountability where it belongs—with them, not with us.

The End

Ask others what they’re thinking about doing or writing or creating before you respond to their request for help. Tell others what you’re thinking of doing or writing or creating before asking them for help.

Then make sure you take what works for you and integrate it into your learning—that is, use it again and again until it becomes habit (unconscious competency). Don’t do things for others, help them to think. Don’t expect others to do things for you.

Make yourself think.

© Alan Weiss 2017

Master Class was a huge hit in June, so I’m running it again in December. It’s a completely higher level approach to demonstrating client value, reducing labor, and becoming a sought-out thought leader.

“I learned so much on two different levels. I learned ways to move my business to the next level, I realized how small I’ve been thinking and that it’s really important to make time to think and stretch your thinking. I also learned from you how to lead. There are many things you did for us that I can take away and recreate for my own clients. Thank you for a great week at an incredible venue!”

Lisa Larter
The Lisa Larter Group
Annapolis Royal, NS, CA

For Master Class information, click here.


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