I've just finished (for the first time) Neil Rackham's SPIN Selling. A longer review is coming, but I wanted to highlight something that links closely to my interest in personal effectiveness / personal learning. The final chapter stood out for its emphasis on turning theory (the book) into a regular practice - Rackham really likes the word entelechy. However, he was not hopeful that it could happen for many of the book's readers.
He provided four Golden Rules for learning new skills that sound very familiar
- Practice only one new behavior at a time. Don't overload yourself with doing everything associated with a new set of skills. Do one thing and get good at that. Then move to the next.
- Try the new behavior at least three times. Before deciding if it works, try it several times to get a sense of how it feels.
- Quantity before quality. Practice, practice, practice. Eventually you will have practiced enough to start worrying about "doing it right." Whatever "right" looks like. This relates to the first rule, as focusing on the new behavior is hard enough without also focusing on all the little elements around it that make that new behavior "right." Rackham also argues that repetition creates quality.
- Practice in safe situations. Don't take your new presenting behaviors to your high profile product launch tomorrow - test them in smaller and safer environments. You will not be good at these new behaviors the first time around.
[Photo: "emergent entelechy" from steve calvert]