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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Game On! Practice to Win

 If you follow soccer, then you understand why the Knappe household is crazy this July as 1) The 2014 World Cup competition is being played in Brasil, and 2) Germany is in the final match on Sunday.   (GO DEUTSCHLAND!) 

Before being exposed to the ultimate German fan, aka my German husband, or getting involved in sports myself, it sometimes bothered me when sports analogies were used in the workplace.  I simply could not relate, but now I see where they are powerful. One idea has stuck in my mind lately between the NBA Finals, Tour de France, and of course, World Cup. 




That is the idea of Game Day.  Athletes train, away from the public eye, in private places, with only scrutiny from their coaching team, for hundreds of hours before the day they are to perform.   They can try new approaches to old problems.  They can focus on tiny skills, which could make all the difference in a win/lose situation.  Discuss what is working well, and what needs improving.  Then for only one day it all comes together and everything is on the line!  Perfection and high performance are the only desired and expected outcome for a few hours. 

Dedicated practice is an idea we sorely miss in the workplace.  Every day is Game Day, which brings stress, but it also diminishes high performance over time.  We rarely take time to focus in great detail the skills it takes for our employees to perform their roles.  We don’t allow them time away from the public eye, to practice the skills they have or to try out new strategies for greater performance before the next game is on.  But we can change that; we can incorporate dedicated practice as a part of our cultures.  

If highly compensated athletes need 4 to 6 hours of practice every day to perform at their exceptional level for 2 to 4 hours one day a week, it would be a worthwhile idea to infuse 30 minutes of weekly dedicated practice into your workplace culture.   One small practice session could have a huge impact to your organization's success: decreased handle time, less service escalations, increased sales, and increased employee performance.  That makes a winning combination. 

The game is always on.  Bring it!

1 comment:

  1. Stacey, I couldn't agree with you more. Too many managers think customer service training is a "Day One and Done" kind of thing. But I believe that the quote from Samuel Johnson is appropriate for customer service training, "People need to be reminded more than they need to be instructed." Continuous practice is critical to stay sharp on customer service skills. And if you don't allow associates to practice with each other then they'll be practicing on your customers. And that most assuredly will earn you a penalty card.

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