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Make it Stick - Streak it!

Updated: Sep 6

Through life we have attended many personal and professional development programs, whether offered by the company for which we were working or an association to which we belonged. Most of these programs were beneficial and some were highly valuable in shaping our thoughts, improving our skills, and increasing our capacity. However, after each one of these programs whether they were one day or six, what was highly motivating in the moment, eventually faded and only a morsel of what we learned was left.

Dan Pontefract writes in Forbes, ”In 2018, over $87.6 billion was spent on corporate training and development across the United States. Billion! To put it into perspective, annual revenues at Dell are just shy of that number.” He continues, “Here’s the rub though: a fair amount of that $87.6 billion gets wasted. (I should know. I’m a recovering Chief Learning Officer.)” He goes on to detail that most people after a day of professional development will not retain or put in play the tools or skills they learned. Not that they don’t want to, the people are highly motivated when they complete the course, but it just doesn’t stick.(1)

To solve this sticky problem many organizations employ weeks of one to one or cohort coaching after the initial course. These sessions certainly increase adherence, but after the coaching is discontinued, people will retain very little of what was learned and practiced.

What then can be done to solve this problem and increase the return on this massive investment? Streak it!

When a person leaves a personal or professional development course they have high motivation to apply what they learned. They bring home the workbook, the study guide, the insights journal, the development cards and typically those things are put in the drawer with the well intentioned thought of regular review. Then life happens and the busyness of the day drowns those materials in the drawer, only to be resuscitated when the first coaching session commences; however, most of what was learned is lost and the session is used to restore, refresh, and relearn.

This is typically what happened to me until I applied Streaking to the problem. To illustrate, please indulge me in a personal experience.

While sitting in a professional development course on communication, where, to be completely honest, I (Jeff) was less than enthused to be, we were given mountains of materials to study and learn. Through the course of the two days my internal armies of resistance retreated and I was highly motivated to apply what was learned, which happens in many well designed skill and learning programs.

Near the end of the second day something the instructor said rang a big internal bell, ”if you want to get good at communication you’ll review this material, but (big pause) if you want to become a master of communication you will practice these development cards every day.” When he said, ”If you want to become a master... practice these development cards every day,” my streaking sensors lit up, ”How am I gonna make this stick? I’m gonna streak it!”

This time after leaving the professional development course rather than let the development cards drown in a drawer or allow the materials to go to waste I set a streak, ”review or make at least one development card daily.” This streak has done more to increase my personal and professional development than all of the combined courses I have attended in my career. The company that sent me to that course has received a return on their investment because from what I learned and retained as a result of Streaking, we created a product and service that has made millions.

Getting a return on invested development dollars is not about how much a person takes in during the learning course, nor is it about how many days of coaching they attend after. The return on invested dollars comes when a person decides who they want to be and then follows the laws of Streaking to become that person.

When you attend your next development course, take in what is being said then decide what streak you will start to grow into who you want to be.

Keep Streakin’,

Jeff & Jami


(1) https://www.forbes.com/sites/danpontefract/2019/09/15/the-wasted-dollars-of-corporate-training-programs/

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