This is my first blog posting. I think a lot about how to be a better manager, whether or not I am being candid with my team, if I am leading appropriately, and how that makes me enjoy what I do for work. Part of it is experience, part is mid-life crisis. I hope that you find something intelligent, amusing, insightful, noteworthy, creative, or some combination of the above. If you find none of these, I apologize for wasting your time. Let me know what I can do better.
We rescued a beagle recently from a local shelter. Copper is our first real pet (there’s Snoopy, our anthropomorphic stuffed dog that my daughter has owned for 13 years, but that’s a long story). Within 30 seconds of meeting Copper, we knew he was the one for us.
He’s about 1-1/2 years old, very intelligent, occasionally stubborn, and a ton of fun. The first few nights, he had no problem going into his crate and sleeping by himself downstairs. Most likely, he was scared and was happy to have his own little world. Then, he started to like us and figured out he had us wrapped around his little paws.
And that is where the business lesson starts….
After multiple nights of luring him into the crate with treats, toys, and partially shoving him in, he refused to go into his crate. So one night, I tried something different. I pointed at the crate, said ‘crate’ about 500 times, and after 30 minutes, he went in on his own. Of course, I felt completely proud of my substantial training abilities, comparing myself to Cesar Millan. The next night I figured ‘piece of cake’, this shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes. Over 90 minutes later, my patience got thin, I tried to pick him up and put him in the crate, he leaped over the crate and banged the door, and my wife and daughter thought I lost it. Needless to say, I was banished to the doghouse.
What did I learn? While I thought I was patient,
I realized that everyone does not learn at the rate I expect them to.
And I was patient, to a point, and then suddenly I wasn’t. And that is not acceptable. There are so many other things I could have done, like asked my wife or daughter for help, or realized that a dog’s attention span is not more than 10 minutes in terms of training. I wasted 80 minutes of his life because I was not satisfied with his pace of learning. My takeaway is to think about Copper the next time someone is trying to learn something that I might have assigned him or her, because everyone learns differently. I will ask for help if I am having a problem learning or teaching someone. There’s no sense in two people being frustrated. If I meet these goals, I should be almost as smart as Copper.