Monday, February 1, 2016

Anjali - Accentuate the Positive

Anjali 's dog phase extends to Max, my brother's beagle, who lives upstairs. Once in a while she goes up to play with Max and enjoys her time there.

The other day she came back with a triumphant look on her face.
'I taught Max how to sit,' she said.
Wow! A trainer!
'How?' I asked. Max is a tough fellow, rather obstinate.

'I showed Max a piece of food and he came running. I told him to sit. He still came for the food. But I insisted that he sit. After some time he understood and sat. Then I gave him the food. Now when I tell him to sit, he sits down first, and then I give him the food,' she said.

Very nice. I know from personal experience that she can be a ruthless teacher or facilitator - she does not give me a whiff of a chocolate on my non-chocolate days (The entire week save Sunday as decreed by her). My most heartfelt pleas are brushed aside until the desired behavior is displayed.

'Sometimes he sits even when I don't have food,' she said.

I read Ken Blanchard's 'Whale Done' and he talks exactly the same thing - about how they train whales to perform at the Sea World by 'accentuating the positive' behavior so trainees repeat that behavior. The whales are given a reward after they perform the actions that the trainers seek.

I am trying to get a couple of organisations to see the wisdom of this. I can understand how difficult it is for managers to see the wisdom of investing time and training behaviors. Glad Anjali got it right.

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