My dog Jack and I are currently attending “clicker” training.
For those unfamiliar with this type of training, this is a method wherein a device which makes a clicking sound is used to help let a dog know when they are doing exactly what the trainer wants them to do.
This method is like the game of “warmer/colder” that most of us played at some point as children.
Eventually, the dog, initially typically out of frustration, will make some move in attempt to get the treat. If the dog moves away from the desired spot, he/she doesn’t get the treat. But, if he/she moves towards the spot, even accidently, he/she gets a treat, letting him/her know they are “warmer”. This is repeated, but the dog only gets the treat if/as they move closer to the desired spot. Eventually, the dog figures out just what the trainer wants and knows the desired behavior. The behavior is then given a name which the dog learns to associate with the behavior.
(In order to understand this from the dog’s perspective, my wife and I have even gone so far as to try to teach each other a specific behavior. The ‘game’ is initially quite frustrating, but playing it a few times, one quickly learns to think through the possibilities and learns each trick faster and faster. (I’ll leave it to you and your imaginations to guess at the tricks we were learning.)
What’s most interesting for me with this is that there is never any acknowledgement or correction if the dog doesn’t perform the desired behavior. There’s only a reward for doing something right.
Now, imagine if we all used a similar approach to help a member of pour proposal team, whether a subordinate, a colleague or a superior, learn a new skill or reinforce a desired behavior. Reinforce the positive. Applaud successes. Give treats when the person does something correctly. How refreshing would that be, right?
I’m going to try this approach on my next project, sans clicker of course, and I’ll let you know how it goes. And I’d love to hear from anyone out there who applies this technique.