T’sao T’sao said “The more we sweat in times of peace, the less we bleed in times of war.” He was speaking of training. Something he realized (more than 1800 years ago) was that training is essential to everything we do in life. And while “practice doesn’t always make perfect, it damn sure makes good sense” says Dr. Haha Lung.
Therein lies the key to the challenges we face in risk management, safety and health. We must practice or more correctly, train. Dr. Lung was onto something when he said that practice doesn’t always make perfect. There is a difference between practicing and training. And while that difference is paper thin, its effects are miles apart.
Practice is the art of doing something over and over again. Going thru the motions and steps of the process. Recalling what you learned and putting it into action. This is very similar to training, but it leaves out a very important step. That is the need to correct errors. See, we can practice the wrong technique, the wrong action and the wrong way to do things over and over again. And this leads to a habit of doing it wrong.
Training focuses on getting the steps, actions and procedures correct. It allows someone to look over your shoulder and give guidance, spot the mistakes and the errors, and offer sound advice for correcting those errors. This is where strides are made, where improvements begin and results prove themselves. It is why superior athletes triumph over unbeatable odds. Why police officers and military personnel are able to accomplish unbelievable accuracy. They don’t have practicing agents, they have professional trainers.
This is why dojos are not empty spaces open to you anytime. And why yoga studios aren’t blank spaces. Dojo’s, yoga rooms, physical therapy centers, and schools of all kinds are filled with trainers. Because training takes more than practice. To be really good at something you need guidance. You need someone to see the things you can’t. What’s all this got to do with risk management and safety?
We have come to a point in our history where we expect people to improve on their own. To make less mistakes, make great decisions and never be injured. As luck would have it, luck only favors the prepared. And the prepared our well trained. We ask for great results, but rarely do we provide the training needed to get the great results. We must remember T’sao T’sao quote “less we bleed in times of war” and how that translates to our everyday work lives.
We send our employees into life threatening situations where they can be shot at, fall multiple stories to their death, be entrapped by soil, fall ill to chemicals or be overtaken by poisonous fumes. And we do this with minimal training. We don’t “sweat” enough.
If we really want to see results then we have to be willing to “sweat” a little bit more. We have to provide the training our staff need. We have to make sure that they familiar with correct and safe way to do things. We have to make sure that they have the tools they need.
So taking the advice of a wise man who lived more than 1800 years ago, get out there and “sweat” a little bit more.