“Have you ever watched a parent teach their child to walk?” I asked.
“Yeah. I have a niece that is learning to walk. Her parents go goo-gah regularly, but still it’s a wobbly process.”
“Does a parent ever say – No, that’s not the way to do it, let me show you. Don’t fall down like that?”
“Well, no. They just get all excited, clap their hands and gurgle baby talk.”
“Somewhere along the way, we lose our natural instincts in the training process. Behavior that is reinforced gets repeated. The two elements that were missing from your training last year were practice and immediate positive reinforcement.
“Initial attempts at a new skill or new behavior are usually terrible, but that’s not the point. Your job as a manager is to get excited and encourage. Put people in a place where they can try again and get better.
“Look, Travis. When do parents give up encouraging their child to walk?”
Travis was still mentally drawing lines in the analogy. “They never stop, I guess. Only when the kid learns to walk.”