Repeat To Retain

So, I worry about repeating myself in these notes. I constantly read and listen to discover a new angle or idea. My worrying stopped this week.

Leadership consultant Suzy Welch says communicating a corporate culture takes repetition. Lots of it. “A leader communicates the culture repeatedly,” she said. “Almost until you gag on it.”

She gives several reasons.

You give a single message to a group of five people, it is likely that they hear five different things. Thus, a leader must repeat himself until everybody has a similar view of the message.

You give a message at a specific time, the listener may not have the frame of reference to receive it fully. I read the Bible most days. I’ll come across a passage I have been reading for many years and I thought I understood.

Often, I will discover a nuance in the reading that I skipped over the first time. Perhaps I’ve learned something or experienced something as a husband, dad, boss or friend that makes a sentence stand out. It means more now than it did then. Or I interpret it differently now that I have experience.

Our brain is a learning machine that can change a great deal. You need to assume when you are teaching or leading that saying it once isn’t completion. When it is important repeat it. Until you gag.

The same goes for listening and learning. When stuff is presented, give it attention as if you haven’t heard it before. You may be staggered how much you can learn from material freshly introduced.



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