Some solutions are so simple that we look right past them, in our efforts to find the tools we need to run our businesses.
That could well be the case with the tool that I am going to talk about today - the Apprentice Approach.
I am pretty sure that the hardest thing I learned in my efforts to become a good manager was "delegation".
It was great to be able to multiply my effectiveness by sharing the load with others. But it was also a little scary to not have total, personal control over the outcome.
It seemed to me that the key to success lay in how I "trained" those that would act on behalf.
The Apprenticeship approach to that training added a lot of clarity, simplicity and comfort to the process of delegation.
It's a big name for what is really a very simple 4-step approach to teaching and passing on knowledge.
There are two people (you the Master, and they the Apprentice) and four steps involved in the Apprentice Approach.
It looks like this -
You can use this approach to teach anything and everything, as long as you remember two things.
- The Master has to commit, upfront.... that what they are "teaching" is broken down into steps small enough to be demonstrated, practiced and mastered in 4 attempts.
- The Apprentice has to commit, upfront ..... that once learned, tasks will be completed to at least the minimum acceptable standard, every time they are asked to do that job.
From there proceed as the chart above indicates.
The Master will do it twice. Once, so the Apprentice can just observe and see it done correctly. A second time, giving the Apprentice some opportunity to participate.
Then the Apprentice will do it twice. Once with the suggestions, hints and prompting from the Master. Then, a second time, as the Master just observes and comments after they are done.
Of course conversation and questions can happen as necessary during any of the attempts. This is a teaching tool not a test.