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By JEFF BLACKMAN

Since this month’s issue of the Business Journal, is focusing on education and training, how timely that a reader wonders:

“Jeff, how do I help my people develop the right skills, attitudes and behavior on an ongoing basis? I want to avoid a quick dose or one-time-shot of information.”

Great question.

As you know, most people leave business “programs” with a souvenir pen and lots of notes. Plus, good intentions. Then they quickly forget what they just learned. How come? Because they return to their life, with its old ways, old habits and old messages still playing in their minds. Their investment of time, energy and money in a quick-hit program is wasted.

Memorable and meaningful results happen over time, not overnight. And for a “learning” experience to be remembered, the ideas shared must be used. Follow-up and reinforcement assure this usage.

Over the years, in helping clients maintain consistent, profitable results, I’ve shown them how to use the powerful learning strategies of focused effort, repetition and group support. These are tried-and-true principles for increasing the long-term retention of ideas and for increasing revenue.

My clients even like to refer to our systematic and strategic approach as results-based performance.

How does results-based performance produce results? Here’s how.

Results-based performance is developed and customized around specific goals or performance objectives. Then a “system” (which integrates multiple leaning-tools, i.e., books, workbooks, CDs, role-plays, DVDs, video conferences, etc.) is used to strategically and effectively help a company and its people navigate successfully along each step or profit-path of the learning journey.

Results-based performance is based upon a four-step journey or profit-path learning process:

Profit-path 1 is Desire:

Participants will understand and internalize how their newly acquired skill level and attitude will catapult them and their company to new levels of success.

Profit-path 2 is Knowledge:

Knowledge is power. It’s the gateway to growth.

Profit-path 3 is Action:

The focus is always on results. Results through action. Information is valuable, yet execution is crucial.

Profit-path 4 is Repetition:

Repetition leads to recognition.

Recognition leads to reinforcement.

Reinforcement leads to internalization.

Internalization leads to execution. And execution leads to results.

After all, in business, the name of the game is results. And those results should be producing key outcomes, like:

• Greater production / volume

• Greater or higher profitability

• Greater confidence

• A more organized or systematic approach

to sales, service, leadership, etc.

• Increased professionalism

• Increased sales from new business with prospects

• Increased sales from new business with

current clients or customers

• Increased sales from new business

with referred leads

• Higher customer-satisfaction or loyalty scores

Potential metrics to watch are:

A. New clients or customers and for how much

B. Current relationships grown and for how much

C. Sales ratios with each sales professional

D. Referral business generated

E. Profitability maintenance / profitability growth

F. Increased client or customer size

G. Client or customer retention rates

H. Employee retention rates

I. Declining employee attrition or turnover rates

J. Market penetration

K. Client or customer penetration /

expansion / growth

And five other benchmarks and metrics to consider include:

1. Client or customer satisfaction

2. Teamwork

3. Morale and attitude

4. Influence on retention of sales

professionals and other key team members

5. Influence on recruitment of new sales

professionals and other key team members

Remember, the goal is ongoing skill-building and reinforcement. This helps sales volume, profitability and even your culture to continually climb for months and years vs. only a short burst of content and success, causing folks to revert to old behaviors, habits and attitudes.

People, like seeds, need to be nurtured and developed because then they grow and flourish. Which means ...

Class is always in session.

To be a superstar, you must listen well, trust your gut instincts, act decisively and have a thirst for new knowledge.

Knowledge plus experience brings wisdom, understanding and results.

Your on-going education is not just a quick injection of “information absorption” or “training tips.” Instead, it’s an evolutionary process of tweaking, fine-tuning, upgrades and behavior-modification.

You must be constantly immersed in your growth and development. Once again: Read books, watch videos, listen to CDs and podcasts, attend seminars, hire pros or specialists, surf the web and seek counsel. It’s OK to ask, “Why?” or simply say, “Tell me more!”

Never stop learning and growing. Profits will follow.

If you think you know it all, you’re wrong. You’ll never realize your full potential and earning power.

You must be a student for life. Be forever curious. Gobble up valuable information. Discover new ideas. Soak ’em up. Find ways to do it faster, better and smarter.

Class is always in session.

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