When I went to the dentist a couple of years ago for an emergency, I knew I should have looked after my teeth better. What I didn’t know was that I had no idea how to look after them properly at all. I’d been brushing the wrong way in the wrong places for years. And avoiding the dentist.
So my hygienist showed me – physically putting a brush in my mouth so I could feel the level of pressure I should be exerting. She also explained why I needed to be maintaining my teeth this way – to clear away the crap left behind by the bacteria that live in your mouth, and gave me additional tools for making sure I reach every nook and cranny.
Now I know what to do, and why, I can get on with it by myself. I’ll even feed back changes as I notice them, or suggest improvements. Its all been fine – for the teeth I have left.
The point I’m making is that just because we do things, it doesn’t mean we’re doing them right, or that we get why we do them.
Many of the essential processes of our lives are learned by a kind of osmosis. We pick them up by a mixture of copying, observation and induction.
The same is true of the processes we run in our businesses. If you want to be sure I’m doing the right things the right way, help me to learn. Tell me what, show me how, and explain why.