Brand Strategy. Brand Energy.
There are many tasks in our modern world which require high levels of precision. Certain professions such as astronaut, surgeon, aircraft pilot, police officers, front line military, land mine removal, fire fighter, high steel construction, and skyscraper window cleaner are so dangerous that any mistake in the performance of the task is life threatening. There are many other professions in which an execution mistake is not necessarily life threatening, but which means very public failure, such as athletes and crime scene investigators.
Those Who Practice These Professions Must Learn Precise Procedures.
So, to reduce the threat of injury, death, or public failure, professionals in these professions must learn very precise skills and procedures, which are built around completing the task successfully, safely, and error-free. The procedures these professionals learn for safely performing their tasks are complex and sometimes seem agonizingly slow
The problem is that these professionals do make mistakes and people die or are subject to public recognition of their failure.
Even with all the complexity and completeness of their precise procedures, these professionals do make mistakes. Even precisely following these procedures, these professionals can sometimes ‘pop-out’ of the precise procedures and put themselves and/or others at risk. And, when this occurs, there are often consequences that must be faced by these professionals.
So, professional, certification, and regulatory organizations involved in these professions and with these professionals are constantly searching for solutions to these mistakes; these undesirable failures to follow the precise procedures for the task.
Here Is The Rub
What if these ‘pop-outs’ cannot be solved by more practice or more precise procedures? What if these ‘pop-outs’ cannot be solved by counseling or mental coaching? What if these ‘pop-outs’ are a part of the human condition?
What if these ‘pop-outs’ are a part of the modern human condition?
What if these pop-outs are an artifact in that part of the brain that executes skills and procedures? What if the professional has no control over these pop-outs and no amount of skill or procedure practice will ever reduce these mistakes?
Maybe We Need A New Way Of Understanding Skill Execution.
Those who are involved in training and certification of professionals who have these pop-outs have been taught that practice will smooth out and eventually eliminate these kinds of mistakes. Yet, this regimen of practice rarely reduces these pop-outs. In fact, this kind of practice might lead to more mistakes in the future.
Neuroscience has a new way of understanding how we learn and execute our skills and procedures. This new understanding of how the brain learns skills and executes these skills will provide a way of understanding what can be done to reduce these mistakes in these skills and procedures.
First: Skills Are Like Programs In Our Brain’s Bio Computer.
In our brains, we have a survival mechanism that recognizes when we repeat a certain set of movements and builds new circuits to support that repeated activity. So, our practice actually builds the brain circuits that support us in performing that skill. Every time we repeat this skill, the brain reinforces those circuits. So, we can think of this resulting set of circuits as a skill-program.
Coaches and trainers instinctively know about this process and tell us that practice makes better and eventually we believe that practice makes perfect.
Second: These Skill-Programs Are Executed By An Execution Manager In Our Brain’s Bio Computer.
This means that the skill is separate from the execution of that skill.
If someone can flawlessly execute the skill, their skill-program for that task is complete.
If someone makes the same mistake at the same point in the skill-program, they do need to practice until they stop making mistakes. Sometimes this means (for instance) slowing down the practice, so that each micro-step in the procedure is perfected and then increasing the speed (in little steps) until the skill is executed flawlessly at normal speed.
An Execution Problem
But, when the person can execute the skill flawlessly, but occasionally makes random mistakes, then the problem is not likely to be in the skill-program. It is much more likely to be in that set of circuits that executes the skill-programs.
What we have found, after more than 10K discrete tests across dozens of professions, is that we humans are mistake-prone. What we have found is that the timing circuits, which govern the execution of these skills, is often imprecise. This imprecision in execution leads to imprecision in the execution of any and all skills of the person.
This Imprecision Can Show Up As Poor Precision In Sensory Data Gathering.
For instance, the person can see or hear or feel something incorrectly and execute the next steps of the skill inaccurately, based on that faulty sensory ‘data.’ We all know that we can bump into others, simply because we didn’t ‘see’ them before the contact was made. Our skill (walking for instance) can include sensory data gathering to make sure the pathway is clear. But, if our Execution Manager pops-out at the moment of the sensory data gathering, our brain executes the skill of walking while ‘knowing’ that there are no potential obstacles in our path.
You can extrapolate this into all manner of ‘mistakes’ you make in all kinds of situations in your life. You misread a price of something. When asked to grab the ‘red’ one, you pick up the ‘green’ one. You grab the wrong file to take to a meeting. All of these are simply that your Execution Manager is popping out while you were going about your business.
This Imprecision Can Show Up As Poor Precision In Muscular Movements.
Tripping as you walk, but nothing is there to obstruct your walking. You reach for your fork and pick up your knife. You make a wrong turn on the street. When the task is to push and you pull instead. These are simply more cases where your Execution Manager is popping out.
What Can Be Done About This?
We can measure the precision of your Executive Manager. It only take a few minutes and you will get a profile of how often your Executive Manager pops-out. This also gives you information about your tendency of making a mistake in the execution of your skills.
We can fine-tune your Execution Manager circuits, which are causing your execution imprecision. This is a training program. It is a no-sweat, gentle exercise program of about 15 sessions (50 minutes each), to reduce your Execution Manager’s tendency to pop-out. Testing in each session demonstrates your progress. The sessions are available via Skype and should be 2 to 4 sessions per week. For those in the critical professions mentioned before, where mistakes are life threatening, more sessions may be needed to achieve that highest level of precision.
How Does This Help Athletes?
If you need to improve any of these, you improve them in this program, guaranteed:
Force, Focus, Speed, Balance, Accuracy, Confidence. Perception, Consistency, Coordination, Concentration, Reaction Time, Impulse Control, and Mental Stamina & Sharpness.
Rodger Bailey, MS
April 6, 2016