I recently ran a digital best practice training for a pharma client. The training included a reminder on the importance of having to change behaviour and thinking, for example from a product to a customer point of view. Whilst the overall feedback was very positive, a few people commented that they knew all this already. I responded to this feedback during the second workshop and thought it would also be worth writing about it too.
The first comment I made was that when you try to change organisational behaviour it is important that everyone is on the same page. That may mean some people are exposed to information they already know. This is, however, better than leaving people behind.
The second comment I thought, but did not mention, was that we often think we know more than we do. Often something sounds so obvious or we think we know something because we hear about it so often. That does not mean that we are experts or have a true understanding of the point or issue. Take the term omnichannel. We all “know” what that is … but do we? How many of us could actually break down the details and differences between omnichannel and multichannel. Yet I am sure if asked we would all say we know what omnichannel means. There is also a difference between knowing something and acting on it. Behaviour change requires more than just knowing.
My final point relates to the need for repetition in change management and learning. We may understand the basics if we hear something once. However to truly change, and to truly live and breathe something new, you generally have to be exposed to it time and time again. I gave the example of the safety demonstration that cabin crew give on an airplane.
Frequent flyers, like myself, have been so exposed to the demonstration that we feel like we could do the demonstration ourselves. We could do it in our sleep. But … could we do in a cabin full of smoke, hurtling towards the ground with the engines on fire? This is why, regardless of how often you fly, the recommendation is to always pay attention. The idea is that it becomes so embedded it becomes instinctual. In the case of an emergency you do not think – you just do. Admittedly we might pay more attention if they changed the delivery from time to time, but we should still pay attention.
The same rings true for training and communication to try to change behaviour. In order to embed the change it needs to be repeated. It needs to become instinctual.
So next time you are in a training and you think you know it all – ask yourself “do I really know this inside out?”. And next time you fly make sure you pay attention, even if you know it all already.