How Training A New Puppy Can Transform Your Business
Say hello to Koko, the latest addition to our family.
Having had a dog as part of our family for over 39 years, we soon realised that having had to say goodbye to our Golden Lab (Fidget) had left a massive void in our lives. So the decision was made to visit North Wales Dog Rescue and see if we could begin to find a way to fill the void.
Having met Koko, we immediately knew this was the dog for us! I’m sure you will agree that he is a very handsome chap.
Whilst going through the adoption process, I think I heard the staff informing us of some of the challenges we may face when introducing Koko into our home. The reason I say ‘I think I heard’ is because I went into ‘I Know that’ mode almost immediately upon arriving at the rescue centre. After all, I have a huge amount of experience raising and training dogs, so what could possibly go wrong?
Having spent a small fortune on new equipment for Koko; leads, collars, play equipment, all manner of treats for him to enjoy etc. I confidently and excitedly set out on our first walk together at a local nature park.
Koko, having spent most of his first two years on this earth in rescue homes, was like a ‘kid in a toy store’ and the park provided plenty of distractions; other dogs, other humans, birds flying about, flies, moths, butterflies and, the pièce de résistance, squirrels. All this distraction meant that our two-hour walk was frustrating for both of us; Koko because he was constantly getting corrected by me and (of course) frustrating for myself because, having been dragged around the park like I was attached to a tornado, my arms were hanging on by a thread.
This unsavoury experience led to yet another trip to purchase more equipment. Having done some research on the internet, I decided what was needed was the latest and greatest dog harness and, of course, if I bought the best on the market, I would win the control battle on our next walk.
Sadly, even with the new harness, the walk proved even more frustrating and meant that I gave up my plan to walk for a couple of hours. In actual fact, we were back in the car in less than an hour. I needed to re-think this. I needed help. I needed some new ideas, tactics and strategies.
Enter the dog trainer.
It was with excitement and anticipation that I opened the door to our dog trainer; she was going to help us sort Koko out, but I wasn’t prepared for what happened. Within a few minutes and very little effort, Koko was sat next to the dog trainer, exhibiting the behaviours of the perfect dog. That led to the trainer giving me a proverbial slap in the face. Koko didn’t have a problem; the problem was me! If I wanted to help Koko reach his true potential, the place I needed to start was staring back at me in the mirror: ME!
Having been left with a series of exercises to complete and yet more equipment to buy, I could not believe the transformation in the experience of walking Koko within just 24 hours. The trainer had taught me to reward and praise Koko’s good behaviour as soon as it happened, instead of focusing on what he was doing wrong. A change of focus meant a total change in experience.
Being a Business Coach and having a curious mind I got to thinking how can this piece of magic or a similar process be mapped across into business?
The leave alone zap management style
In most businesses the induction of a new team member consists of, “Here is your desk, your computer and if you need anything else give somebody a shout.” As a result, this induction method leads to inevitable mistakes and a breakdown in trust between the new team member and the business owner/manager. It is usually followed with the cry, “I might as well do it myself!”
The same scenario tends to play out when tasks are delegated. Truth is delegation very rarely takes place, however, abdication does.
Because of the breakdown in trust, what will most likely follow is a form of micro-management where the owner/manager will be on the lookout for the individual getting things wrong then jump in and zap the culprit. As I learnt with Koko, this just leads to frustration for both parties.
A change of focus is needed
The owner/manager of the above business would achieve far better results if they were to change focus to one of catching their people doing things right and then praising and rewarding them in the moment.
“Whoa! Reward every time?” I hear you say. Yes! Because rewards do not always have to be monetary, sometimes a pat on the back can have much more effect. For instance:
“You did a great job on the xxxxx project! Well done-you have made me feel proud and it really bodes well for the future.”
What do you think the employee receiving that type of feedback is more likely to do in the future? Could they, for instance, be inclined to repeat the behaviour so that they get more positive feedback which leads to them having the feel good factor?
Now, you may be saying, “I haven’t got time to be walking through my business, day-in, day-out catching people doing things right!” Whilst the results may not be immediate, what you will find over a period of time is that as a result of the praising and rewards, the productivity of your team will rise, thus freeing up your time.
What happens if they are getting it wrong?
Deal with it in the moment.
What tends to happen is the drip-drip-zap them method. A task is not completed correctly: drip. Next time the same or similar mistakes are made: drip. This drip-drip carries on until one day the manager/owner can take no more and really blows up in an over the top and inappropriate way at the unsuspecting team member. A much better approach would be:
“You didn’t follow our system when carrying out that task and that has resulted in a delay to the customer, which in turn led to a complaint and the customer withholding payment. This has made me feel really angry because you have previously shown that you can do it right and you also know I consider you to be one of our best people.”
A key point to remember here is you want to keep your people, but eradicate the behaviour, so always reprimand the behaviour and not the person.
Now it’s your turn
Give this process a go and let me know if you achieve similar results in your business as I did with Koko. It truly is game changing.
About the Author
Kevin Gallagher is no stranger to success. Over a period of 32 years, he has owned or run thirteen highly profitable businesses, mainly in the hospitality sector. From his first venture, an ailing bar in Central Manchester, to a thriving multi million pound hotel and restaurant business, he has the ‘knack‘ for knowing and implementing the right tactics and strategies to grow any business.
As a result of his experience in business, he came to realise that whilst business is simple, it isn’t always easy. One of the biggest challenges he discovered was that he didn’t know what he didn’t know and that was costing him a fortune. For instance he didn’t know that there was such a thing as Business Coaches and therefore whenever he was facing a challenge in any of his businesses, he soldiered on alone instead of seeking the advice of an expert that would have led to him accelerating his results.
Having spent over 20 years in the hospitality industry, Kevin decided he needed a change in direction and a new challenge. Having become all too familiar with the challenges facing Business Owners and having trained in America and London, Kevin decided to open a Business Coaching practice in the Wirral. He is now one of the most experienced coaches in the UK and highly qualified to deliver programs and content that benefits his international client base.
When not working, Kevin loves to spend time with his family; Sue (his wife/boss) for 37 years, their two fantastic children.
If you would like to find out just how Kevin can help you, your team and your business achieve remarkable results get in touch with him here http://www.mpcforprofit.com
Many thanks to Kevin for guest blogging this month… Please feel free to comment, like and share. If you would like to guest blog here, please do drop me a line and lets see if we can include you here too. Ian Dickson