The Best Way to Learn is by Doing

I have unilaterally decided to add a new category to our blog called “RWR” or “Revelations While Running.”  As I’m training for a January marathon over the next few months, I have lots of time to myself out on the road.  A few years ago I decided I didn’t need music any more and the result has been valuable quiet time to think about life.  There are lots of things I think about but inevitably I will spend some time thinking about my work.

I spent a bit of time on my run this morning thinking about my day yesterday.  Yesterday was a bit abnormal because I spent a significant chunk of my day responding to customers using our ticketing system.  In general, we are pretty good with our ticket responses but I do think there are significant improvements we can make to the speed with which we respond.  Without boring you with details, we have certain situations that require us to gather time sensitive examples from customers.  We absolutely have to improve the handling of these tickets and I have some terrific ideas for my staff on how to do this.

I have a couple insights from this experience that are important when thinking about process improvement:

Sometimes the best way to improve a process is to do the process first.  Have you had this experience?  Maybe it’s just because I’m a kinesthetic learner but if I’m going to learn about something let alone improve how it’s done, I have to do it.  Try it sometime.  No matter what your rank in the company, your pride will remain intact.  There are a myriad other benefits to doing this that I won’t mention right now.

Take some time to unplug, be quiet and think. For me, running gives me quiet, unplugged time to do some valuable thinking.  Try taking some time to think about your job and the work you do and turn off the noise around you.  You’ll be surprised at the insight you’ll gain.

One of my favorite things when you talk about quality is the concept of CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT.  Make it a habit to do these two things in your life regularly and you’ll continuously find yourself excited about your job and the ways you are improving it!

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