Why "Fake It 'Til You Make It" is a Dangerous Idea

As an employer, if this isn't your worst nightmare, it must come close: You watch a new crane operator climb into the cab and flex his hands. Just as you pat yourself on the back for your skill in hiring capable people, you hear him say, "Well, fake it 'til you make it," and reach for the controls.



Learning is Better than Faking

We've all heard that phrase, and it may be true in some cases, but when it comes to work, the cases are few and far between. For example, consider what "faking it" means within these contexts:

  • Operating heavy machinery

  • Ordering products on a deadline

  • Interacting directly with clients

In the first situation, faking it could lead to a compromise of employee safety. In the second, faking it could cost the company a great deal of time and money. And in the third, faking it could lead to embarrassment—or, worse, the loss of a client.

But doesn't training prevent "faking it"?

In the opening anecdote, we might say if the new employee can't operate a crane, the employer did something wrong. Perhaps they didn't ask about prior crane-operating experience before hiring, or perhaps they didn't offer the new employee training before putting him behind the controls. However, the truth is that even when employees are given training for a new job, they can still be unprepared.

How, you may ask, is that possible? The whole purpose of training is to prepare them for a job.

Exactly--and because of that, administrative teams in many companies assume that because they've provided training, employees understand what they need to do in a given situation. Yet inadequate or ineffective training leaves employees to flounder on their own and "fake it until they make it." Why? Because long, concentrated hours of training don't lead to mastering new behaviors, and long, concentrated hours of training are the business norm.

So the real goal is to provide training that actually creates change. Saul Alinsky, a well-known community activist, explains that "change means movement."  The Latin root movere means "to move." It's the root in the words motion, motivation, and emotion. That is the goal and the fundamental question: How can companies be sure to provide training that motivates rather than leaves people to fake it?



A Better Way to Train

Research shows that people forget information quickly. So if the training method in use is to sit people down for a one-time seminar packed full of information, by the time employees stand up to leave, they're already forgetting things. Learners need to review the information at regular intervals in order to retain any of it.  Each time material gets reviewed, the brain gets another chance to encode it deeper.

So the best training methods will give information a little bit at a time and include a built-in review. That's the kind of training we offer here at Bitesize. We want to motivate change within learners and help them feel confident approaching new behaviors. We believe no one should have to "fake it."


Get Training the Best Way

We would love to help you train your employees in a better way--one that leads to lasting change and improvement. Visit our site at www.teambitesize.com to learn more about how we can help you and your employees.