Practice Makes Habits: Why Adjusting Your Training Methods Matters

I’m going out on a limb here and guessing that today you’re in the middle of some sort of habitual schedule. For example, maybe it looks like…

Wake up.

Shower.

Get dressed.

Drink coffee.

Commute.

Work.

Eat lunch.

Work.

Drink afternoon coffee.

Commute home.

Go to the gym.

Eat dinner.

Watch some Netflix.

Go to sleep.  

Monday through Friday, a ton of people go through their day like a routine. Not in a bad way, just in a predictable way. 

What we often overlook though is that we have trained ourselves to behave this way. Getting up at 4:30am for Orange Theory or packing the same grilled chicken salad for lunch everyday doesn’t happen on its own. 

For better or worse, we’ve created our habits through a series of repetitions. Whether we’re jumping in the pool to swim laps first thing in the morning or grabbing a bowl of ice cream after dinner, we’ve programmed our minds to work in patterns.

What’s the Basal Ganglia?

A quick Google search of the famous saying “old habits die hard” presents the following:

Old habits die hard because the area of the brain where many habits are formed, called the basal ganglia, remembers pathways that nerves fire on. This is one reason why habits can be so difficult to break—even after years, the right trigger will set a broken habit pattern into motion.”

Quite literally, creating new habits means we’re rewiring our brains. But even after we break past habits, our brains are only one misstep away from putting us back onto the nicely paved road to a previously broken habit.

In a sense, how we have trained ourselves to act on a daily basis is our own infrastructure. Even though that infrastructure will get interrupted over the holiday season with shorter work weeks, travel, dinners out with families and friends, and endless desserts, it will no doubt correct itself back to the daily routine come January.

You create habits, and these habits carry you day in and day out.  Over time, what you create in yourself will take shape.

Cool. But why does this matter? 

Because our places of work operate the same way we do, just on a macro level.

Developing Training Habits at Work

A company’s training methods and habits define how often and how quickly employees grow. What we do, at work and at home, on a day-in, day-out basis defines us over time. Just like you can’t go to the weightroom for the first time later today and expect to benchpress 300 lbs, you can’t expect to grow at work without consistent, quality training. In both cases, muscles won’t grow without multiple levels of failure, repetition and soreness.

Of course, there are a number of factors when considering company success—the product itself, go-to-market strategy, budget, growth, and more. But regardless of all of these, the ones who train best will produce the most. 

Training methodology is a topic that has spun countless books, blog entries and Linkedin posts. But what training methods and techniques work best? In-person types of training, like coaches and speakers? Peer-to-peer? Group breakout sessions? Burying ourselves in Google Docs? Everybody has a different answer and different statistics to back up what they believe.

The Secret? Consistency with Disruption.

While it may sound like a contradiction, on-the-job training processes require an equal amount of consistency and disruption. Consistency in daily tasks, like for salespeople—emails, calls, follow-ups, forecasting, product knowledge. Consistency is learned through repetition, but our minds and muscles get used to that repetition, and that’s where the disruption comes in. We end up stagnant if we don’t disrupt our normal habits.

Sports training methods work the same way. Any athlete will tell you that you can’t let your body get too used to a particular workout. Lifting the same weight day after day will eventually cause your muscles to plateau. The same goes for running; slower-paced 15 mile runs need to be intercut with faster-paced three mile runs. Training methods for employees operate much of the same way. Sales teams practicing the same way everyday will eventually level off.  Products change, markets change, competitors change, buying processes change. Sales and customer service teams have to change, too.

Here’s the bottom line—we’re creatures of habit and products of our own training. And training and development should never stop.

This is where Lessonly comes in. We believe in the repetition of daily learning, but also the ability to disrupt that learning with Practice. Everybody sounds great when they rehearse a sales pitch in their head, but rehearsing out loud quickly highlights the areas that need work. Practice allows sales and customer service reps to record themselves doing a pitch, overcome an objection, and handle a customer complaint. And after it’s been recorded, managers can grade their reps on factors like clarity and confidence.  On-the-job training becomes a consistent feedback loop, and new, better habits form. 

Everything evolves, even types of training methods. My challenge to myself and to you all in the new year? Let’s evolve with it.


Want to add “Grow with Lessonly” to your daily routine?

Yeah, we want that, too. Lessonly is powerfully simple training software that helps teams learn, practice, and perform like never before. If you’re looking to form great habits and unite your team with great training, let’s talk. Want to learn more about us? Take a tour or watch a quick video demo of Lessonly today.

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