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Friday, August 30, 2013

Lean Quote: Stop Training and Start Helping People Learn

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn." — Benjamin Franklin, 1750

Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote has since been proven by science; educators now call it “experiential learning.” Experiential learning is a philosophy and methodology in which educators purposefully engage with students in direct experience and focused reflection in order to increase knowledge, develop skills, and clarify values. It is also referred to as learning through action, learning by doing, learning through experience, and learning through discovery and exploration.

There's a lot more to training than talking! Studies show that we remember 80-90% of what we see and touch, and only 10-15% of what we hear...so there's one thing for sure — people don't learn by us talking! People need to be involved in the learning process in order to be able to perform what they've learned. By engaging, involving, and enabling your staff, you build buy-in to support the long term benefits and impact of a change.

Change your mindset and you'll involve learners more often – your job is not to train but to create learning, so think of yourself as a Creator of Learning and you'll involve people in the learning process more often because you'll always be focusing on whether they're learning, not whether you're training!

So stop talking and start helping people learn!

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  1. "your job is not to train but to create learning" can anyone share examples of best practices (how to do this?)

  2. I am a manufacturing Supervisor in an incentive based company. We have been trying for years to standardize our training in our Finishing department just because it can be very overwhelming to new employees, but it seems the harder we try to standardize, the worse the performance of new employees. Just very recently I identified 3 struggling employees and decided to engage with them myself. Together we identified areas for improvement, and one by one we worked side by side until we found a solution that worked for the employee. I am also a former 9 year veteran operator in this department (been in management for 7 years) so I jumped at the chance to offer my insight. I believe we "created learning" by requiring the employee to "think for themselves" without "being left to fend for themselves". I became, and still am, a true source of hands on support for these employees. Bottom line is that in 4 weeks we have seen a 51%, 53%, and 75% improvement from these employees. They are happy and lining their pockets with more cash, and they are responsible for making their company (100% employee owned) more successful. We all communicate daily and we sit down each week to review performance and identify more areas for improvement. What's even more awesome is that I've learned something myself about true employee engagement! We are training another new employee next week and I plan on executing this same engagement practice right out of the gate with them as opposed to letting the trainer assume all responsibility.

    1. Jerry, This is a wonderful story. I am glad you shared it with us. I think there are valuable lessons to learn by all in truly engaging employees.