The Power of Continuous Reinforcement

Sharing knowledge successfully is very difficult. Whether you are an executive trying to get your team to understand the vision and values of the company or a consultant tasked with teaching a set of employees a new skill, if you only say something once, odds are good you won’t have much impact. That typically leaves you facing an unpleasant choice:

  • Option 1: Tell people something once and hope for the best, or
  • Option 2: Spend way too much time trying to coordinate not only an initial teaching but also unwieldy follow up and reinforcement 

You are stuck with this choice because historically, the only effective knowledge sharing and communication has happened in person, with all of the logistical difficulties that entails. The first generation of technology tools – telephone / conference calls, online video conferencing / webinars, etc. – made things slightly better by eliminating the need to meet in person but they did NOT eliminate the need to coordinate schedules or allow for multiple parties to communicate with a group on their own schedule.

But that is changing. It is now cheaper and easier than ever to record and share knowledge in a digital format thanks to the supercomputers in our pockets. This opens up a whole new world of possibilities for delivering continuous reinforcement by recording knowledge on your own time and allowing the recipient to watch / listen / read on their schedule.

As an executive, you can now easily record short audio or video updates highlighting implications of the company’s strategy or examples of employees living out your values. You can’t expect your employees to operate in alignment with your vision unless they receive continuous reinforcement of what that vision is. Especially as you compete in a rapidly changing marketplace, it more important than ever to regularly show how the vision applies in a shifting landscape.

As a consultant, you can easily reach your clients remotely at scale with quick updates reinforcing key points from your teachings. We all know the stats on how quickly someone forgets something they’ve heard – utilize technology to deliver a much higher ROI to your clients.

If you are a leader responsible for the performance of a team, it is time to make sure that you are doing everything you can to enable their growth and performance. And no altruism required – you will be the primary beneficiary.