When It Comes To Your Professional Development – how do you build sustainable behavioral change when it’s just you?

Stephen Covey wrote in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People that to learn something and not apply it is not to learn it all. The research indicates that corporations spend billions of dollars every year for training and development but there is little proof that there is a good return on the investment. Much has been written about the neutral effects of a training course if a participant goes back to the same environment without a change to support the new learning. So how do you keep the learning new when it’s just you – you have to be willing and motivated to make a personal commitment to apply the new knowledge you have acquired. In Laszlo Boc’s book Work Rules [the Google story] – he states “the best is always the least” when it comes to training. I like to say that simple gets done and complicated gets forgotten!

When it comes to keeping the learning new two time-proven methods have always been successful. The first is to practice, practice, practice! Practice makes progress! Find easy ways to remind yourself of staying focused on what you’ve learned. For example, get yourself a wall calendar that squares off the days of each month. Borrowing from Marshall Goldsmith’s – What Got You Here Won’t Get You There – ask yourself at the end of each day the same question by starting out with – “Did I do my best to apply what I have learned” or another appropriate question. Then on the calendar at the end of each day give yourself a ‘Y’ or ‘N’ and at the end of the month you will have your report card.

The second method of successfully applying your new learning is when you talk about it every chance you get. Another way to think of this is to teach it to as many people as possible. When you teach it and answer questions about what you have learned it sticks! Make it a point to teach someone different every day and use the wall calendar report card to chart your progress.

Bock also challenges corporations to consider using an internal high performer to train and/or coach the same department and presents a compelling argument based on the data that demonstrates how using your “best person” can generate an exponential return on investment. Additionally, Bock suggests only seek out training and development courses that focus on behavioral change as a way to measure a program’s effectiveness.

As a coach and trainer, I incorporate these methods into the program and follow up with the participants to hold them accountable. Company training satisfaction rates increase when behavioral change can be linked to the investment made in providing training to their employees.
So to build sustainable behavioral change:

· Keep it simple!
· Practice, practice, practice!
· Teach it!
· Chart your progress!

For more information visit JohnBeiter.com. I recently created an excellent four hour workshop based upon the 7 Habits of Highly Successful People and so much more. Ask me how it can work for you!