We don't rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training."
That saying still proves true hundreds of years after it was uttered. We can have great expectations for our employees or teams. But the reality proves they can only perform to the level of their training. To illustrate here is a great example from a recent Superbowl.
With time running out the Seattle Seahawks were only a few yards from a score that would win the Superbowl. Millions of people watching, including the TV announcers all expected the ball to be given to Seattle's large running back to muscle his way in for a score. Instead, they attempted to pass the ball to a receiver. Malcolm Butler, a rookie defender, jumped in front of the receiver and intercepted the pass. No one and I mean no one, expected the pass - except the coaches of the New England Patriots and the rookie defender.
You see, the experienced coaches noted the play in game films and practiced how to defend it. When the time came the rookie, trained by his experienced coaches, recognized the formation and fell to the level of his training. He was TRAINED to expect it. He still had to perform, but it was not a suprise to him. Thebiglead | NFL reported: “At practice they had that play,” Butler said. “The scout team ran that same play, and I got beat on it. [Belichick] told me, ‘You gotta be on that.’ At that time, memorization came through, and I just jumped the route and made a play. I just did my job.”
A great example for us as business leaders. We want our people to perform at a high level, even if they are rookies, like the football player mentioned above. High expectations...but what level of training.
We leaders need to raise the level of training. We can help our people practice their presentations. We can use simulations, practice, study, briefings or demonstrations. Most of all it requires US to have a deep "domain knowledge" of our products and process. That way we can guide our less experienced employees.
The coach of the Patriots is known for his DEEP knowledge of the game. He is also one of the best teachers in all of sports. He is able to implant 20 years of experience into the mind of a first year player. He ran the play in practice so Butler could fail there and learn how to defend it. And he did! He intercepted a pass few on earth expected - except him and his coaches. He fell to his high level of training.
Do you see opportunities to train your people? Know an example - do tell?