Formality in Training Develops Discipline

Two of the most important individual traits of success are drive and discipline. In Albert E.N. Gray’s “Common Denominator of Success” talk decades ago, he stated, “The secret of success of every man who has ever been successful lies in the fact that he formed the habit of doing things that failures don’t like to do.”

Having discipline allows us to form the habits we need to become successful. This is true in all walks of life, whether it’s improving one’s golf swing or making the required number of calls each day.

Formal Processes Develop Discipline and Habits

How do we develop the discipline that, in turn, develops habits? For a short answer to this, let’s refer to General Colin Powell, who said, “Formality brings discipline.”

By creating formal processes and holding individuals accountable for following them, we establish the disciplines within these activities, which leads to good habits.

Unfortunately, without these formalities and disciplines, bad habits can form easily and quickly. We all know that breaking a bad habit is much harder than establishing a good one, but it takes leadership to establish the accountability and discipline to hold true to the process.

One best practice is to hold your team accountable for not only attending or completing all assigned sessions but also for completing the coursework that goes with them. Comprehensive training contains handouts, follow-up reinforcement material, and explanations of how the content can be used in the real world.

Failure to hold reps (or anyone else) accountable is a failure to recognize the importance of training and to establish the discipline of completing assignments.

It’s the Leader’s Job to Build Accountability into Training

Accountability is not just the participant’s responsibility. As the facilitator or leader, you have the responsibility to not only ensure that the work was completed in its entirety but then to acknowledge it, provide feedback and reinforce your team members’ accomplishments. The discipline of success is built through a series of small, consistent accomplishments.

Most often, the breakdown of developing habits is the result of a failure to be held accountable. An expectation of accountability should begin during the recruiting process. If assignments are given, and explained thoroughly, then a failure to complete them assignment should be a new rep’s first strike. Many successful firms allow only two or three strikes before asking a new rep to move on. How many do you allow?

Follow the formality of your training process. Build in strict accountability, and you will
be amazed at how quickly everything begins to improve.

“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes
sweat, determination and hard work.”
—Colin Powell

Training that is informal and offered in an inconsistent way will not result in a high ROI on your investment. To optimize your training efforts, make it formal and consistent, and build accountability into the equation.