Aug. 17, 2022

Skill Builder - Give Me Problems to Solve with Jeff Zigman

Equipping teams with skills in large and small organizations is a nearly universal challenge. Jeff Zigman, The Business Engineer, knows the power of asking the right questions coupled with technology to increase skill acquisition with on-site, remote, or...


Equipping teams with skills in large and small organizations is a nearly universal challenge. Jeff Zigman, The Business Engineer, knows the power of asking the right questions coupled with technology to increase skill acquisition with on-site, remote, or hybrid teams.

 

Connect with Jeff via  

LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeffzigman/ 

Email jeffz@skillbuilder.academy 

Website https://skillbuilder.academy/ 

Website http://remoteactiveshooterpreparation.com/ 

 

Connect with Felipe via

Social media and Free Lean and Scrum Training Resources at https://thefelipe.bio.link 

Subscribe on YouTube to never miss new videos here: https://rb.gy/q5vaht 

 

Show Links:

Change Makers - PDCA vs SAPD

https://youtu.be/aonRK9vQNkg 

 

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Today’s episode is sponsored by Bosch RefinemySite. It’s a cloud-based construction platform. Bosch uses Lean principles to enable your entire team, from owners to trade contractors – to plan, communicate, document, and execute in real-time. It’s the digital tool that supports the Last Planner System® process and puts it all together in one simple, collaborative ecosystem. Bosch RefinemySite empowers your team, builds trust, creates a culture of responsibility, and enhances communication. Learn more and Try for free at https://www.bosch-refinemysite.us/tryforfree 

 

Today's episode is sponsored by the Lean Construction Institute (LCI). This non-profit organization operates as a catalyst to transform the industry through Lean project delivery using an operating system centered on a common language, fundamental principles, and basic practices. Learn more at https://www.leanconstruction.org 

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Transcript

00:00:00:01 - 00:00:26:04
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So all software is, is the creation, manipulation and displaying of data. If you know a if you understand a deeply enough of a lot of different levels, then those is it's almost infinite what you can do in a sense. Employee training is a problem for everyone and secularly a problem during COVID and a solid solution that can train every employee well in a company is can be a very valuable thing.

00:00:26:07 - 00:00:56:01
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I agree. What about helping teams learn faster? Have you of of the police training, the mental health, the addiction and the other types of clients you've had and Skill Builder. Which of those has been the most surprising more than anything being the principles that I've seen in person and been able to do and teach in person, sort of show up and sort of a peer through a through through virtual means, like through a software platform.

00:00:56:08 - 00:01:15:10
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And I guess in the sense it's surprising because nobody else has managed to to do that yet. And it's great. It's amazing to see it. And it's made it to me the more every time you see an additional person saying how great and how interactive it is and how amazing the learning experience is and how it's unlike anything else.

00:01:16:18 - 00:01:51:24
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It's, it's great and further validation of that. I wouldn't say it's surprising just because I like I know that it works, but it's just great. It's nice to see that over and over and over again. I agree with you completely that the training and skill acquisition is difficult for all large organizations. Are there any clients for you? Are surprised at like some of the things that they took away as as positive, valuable changes that they witnessed more or less across the board, because you always have people who think otherwise, people saying how they like it and how effective and how efficient.

00:01:51:24 - 00:02:14:21
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And so the simple, direct answer is not so much it is, but it's been pretty fairly consistent like that. And I think a lot of that is because I've kind of developed a consistent methodology of how to do it so that regardless of the industry, it's pretty consistent in that kind of way. Yeah, I like that confidence and I'd be good.

00:02:15:03 - 00:02:40:17
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It's got the feedback to back it up. Ladies and gentlemen. Just got the testimonials from multiple leaders inside of different industries. So kudos to you, Jeff. It's more when I see people who like so there's one former police chief, for example to the OC, I guess two of them really, really stand out, says one former police chief. He studied distance learning.

00:02:40:18 - 00:03:01:11
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Okay. I've never studied any sort of I've never studied learning. I was in engineering until 22 in school. I was 23. And I have all the years of martial arts based learning. So engineering teaches you how to learn. Martial arts also teaches you how to learn. But I've never formally learned any sort of learning in any capacity or any sort of distance learning.

00:03:01:19 - 00:03:39:00
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And that that former police chief said that he's never seen anything like it. It's more effective and he's than any other way of learning that he has done, especially online. And that's after he did study remote learning. And another one was someone who I'm working with right now. He's former law enforcement and former high end security. And I'm working with him for the the remote active shooter preparation one now because he sees a huge opportunity in the security industry for that.

00:03:39:06 - 00:04:01:02
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And he said he's been through a lot of different trainings and he said it's a completely new power and his words are paradigm shift or something like that in in learning. And he said, yeah, from his perspective and I've had other people say this, it's like it condenses months of learning and down to a couple of hours learning faster.

00:04:01:02 - 00:04:02:15
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Love that Jeff.

00:04:02:15 - 00:04:13:10
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Welcome to The EBFC Show, The Easier, Better for Construction podcast. I'm your host, Felipe Engineer-Manriquez. This show is all about the business of construction. Today's episode is sponsored by Bosch RefineMySite is a cloud based construction collaboration platform that applies Lean principles to enable your entire team to plan, communicate and execute in real time. It's the digital tool that works in tandem with your Last Planner System process and puts it all together in one simple collaborative ecosystem. This easy to use platform is available in English, German, Spanish, Portuguese and French, and can be used on desktops, tablet and mobile devices. According to Spencer Easton, scheduling manager at Oakland Construction, refined my site, in my opinion, is the best, leanest tool on the market for the Last Planner System. Here's what our users have to say. We've looked at three other digital scheduling platforms and none compare to the straightforward approach RefineMySite takes. From milestone planning all the way down to daily tasks this program gives every general contractor and their trade partners meaningful collaboration, accountability and KPIs. Register today to try RefineMySite for free for 60 days. Today's show is also sponsored by the Lean Construction Institute. LCI is working to lead the building industry and transforming its practices and culture. Its vision is to create a healthy and thriving industry that delivers outstanding project outcomes every time for everyone. Check the show notes for more information. Now to the show.

00:05:50:07 - 00:06:10:05
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Welcome to the show, Jeff Zigman! Jeff, you are focused on making the learning easier and you're applying to different areas of your life. One near and dear to my namesake engineer. And you just said at the beginning, we were talking as we're getting started, how engineering teaches you how to learn. I've actually never heard that before.

00:06:10:05 - 00:06:39:07
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Having gone through six years of engineering school. Sometimes I felt like maybe I should do something else. But I eventually got out and started working. Construction. But Jeff, you have mastered martial arts and you've brought those two things together before you served as the chief technology officer of some different companies and organizations. And today you're helping people in an area that I think is going to make work easier for so many different people.

00:06:39:16 - 00:07:00:07
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Jeff, tell the good audience of The EBFC Show a little bit about yourself. Just to clarify, I wouldn't say that I've mastered martial arts. I think martial arts happens is probably the one skill or there's many, obviously many different martial arts, but it's probably the one thing that I think you can't master even after a lifetime in a sense.

00:07:00:08 - 00:07:34:18
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So I wouldn't I wouldn't say that I've mastered it, but I've been doing it long enough to be able to learn a lot and to learn to absorb a lot of the principles of how people learn. So I've actually I've been a tech entrepreneur for about ten years now. I've done take I've led taken more than 25 software projects from like idea to live, led development teams of let built multimillion dollar enterprise software and from Skill Builder to property management and a number of other ones.

00:07:35:24 - 00:08:01:24
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Been a business analyst for ten years, but as a chief technology officer for eight years. Software Engineer for eight years, database architect for eight years. User experience optimization for ten years had business process optimization for ten years. Automation for six years done done quite a bit on a lot of different fronts, both the sort of the technical side and the intertwining of business and tech together.

00:08:03:12 - 00:08:38:02
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And my the one what I've been working on since the beginning of COVID, also married with two children, two little kids, three year old and a ten month old. And the COVID I at the beginning of COVID, actually, I created my platform Skill Builder that basically taking the 20 years of martial arts, what I've learned from skill based learning from that and building the principles of what I know is required for quick and effective learning into a software platform because that's really the only way to.

00:08:38:07 - 00:08:59:24
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PowerPoint doesn't work to teach people new skills. Long video format doesn't work. And I knew that. I knew that the only way to do it is through software and software, not just not just a learning system like people that are on the market. You really need something extremely, intricately designed to learn to work with the right kind of learning methodology for it to work.

00:09:00:23 - 00:09:27:06
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And I went through over 200 iterations watching people interact with it and and making adjustments down to the tiniest little detail based on how they interacted and so on. And now I'm basically there's two main areas. I'm applying it. I work, I'm a partner with a US Department of Home, retired U.S. Department of Homeland Security trainer and active shooter response preparation.

00:09:27:12 - 00:09:52:02
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And we've created a Skill Builder training on that so that one can actually be rolled out right now to companies of any size, whether it's actually the only training for this because it's a scalable learning methodology. The only training of this AI that I'm aware of in the world at the moment that can be rolled out to companies with thousands, tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of employees where every employee will actually learn effectively from it.

00:09:53:13 - 00:10:17:14
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And similarly, I have a sort of a different service slash turned into a product where I can go into a large organization, analyze the processes that are, let's say, costing them the most money, typically where employees are making the most mistakes on a recurring basis and it's costing money or incurring damage in the form of like mistakes and whatever capacity.

00:10:18:02 - 00:10:40:10
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And then we can create a Skill Builder training together that sort of extracts the technique of their top performer, if you will, converts it into this ideal format. And then it can be rolled out to all employees and throughout the entire company and it based on the previous ones I've done, it's like condensing 6 to 12 months of learning into about 2 to 3 hours.

00:10:40:14 - 00:11:16:24
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That's beautiful. Jeff, you're shifting that learning curve from four months and sometimes years in the construction industry. We sometimes see people in newer roles, especially people coming from university. It could take them sometimes over to see all aspects of a role. It might take them more than two years to get proficient in an area. And a lot of the people that are in the managerial levels and leadership levels will say that that mastery is really more where they can feel that the people can can do things on their own, like with the what is required is usually more amount of five years.

00:11:17:09 - 00:11:36:18
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So if you're you're bringing down and consolidating, getting to the gist of the training in days of what can take months, I think it's I think you're on to something there's something to be said about a lot of variation in teaching. A lot of people that are really good at their work are not necessarily good at teaching others how to be good at their work.

00:11:37:11 - 00:11:58:23
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Yeah, there's definitely something to be said there. And I think one of the videos that you shared with me and we can put links in the video, we'll put links in the description for how to get in contact with Jeff as well as Skill Builder themselves. For those of you that want to see some cool videos and testimonials, some people, some of these police chiefs that that Jeff is mentioning and there is a lot of active shooter stuff.

00:11:59:06 - 00:12:27:03
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I just want to go back. But you got me got me remembering at many large construction companies, Jeff, some have in more urban areas, metropolitan cities do actually have policies and procedures around active shooter, especially here in the United States. It's unfortunately a problem that our society is facing. Now. Some organizations have no policy or procedure. They have nothing but the ones that do.

00:12:27:04 - 00:12:55:05
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Jeff there are pages and pages and pages of just words. What is what's one of the what's one nugget from your active shooter work that you've learned that your students would see inside a skilled builder on a high level, that it runs through the sort of the run or run hide, fight concept, but they drills kind of deeply into that in terms of the preparation on the individual basis for an advance.

00:12:55:11 - 00:13:29:09
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And then how to think through it in a logical, methodical way during. So if what it does because of the interactive nature, all the interaction that I built into, into the Skill Builder platform, that kind of that elicits the proper interaction and at the right times, what it does is it gets the individual person, each person to actually think through what to do and how to approach it in their own surroundings in advance and how to think through it logically.

00:13:29:09 - 00:13:53:06
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And how also very big part of every every Skill Builder training do is the common mistakes that are made and how to why they're mistakes and how to avoid those mistakes. Because the mistakes are actually the part that typically makes someone take six, 12 months, two years, three years, five years to learn something that could be learned in a couple of hours, because you spend so much time making mistakes.

00:13:53:15 - 00:14:24:08
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But if you that can be course corrected at the beginning and you understand why they're mistakes, then that's what can actually put you on the right course from step one and it helps you avoid taking all those wrong turns. So what it does here is it really helps the individual person and also management, because there are steps for management to do as well, but it teaches them how to think through it logically, how it actually has them go through it.

00:14:24:08 - 00:14:45:17
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So it's not like you're staring at something for the whole time and then you hopefully remembering it. You're actually doing things as you go through that. But by the time you finish, there's a very, very strong level of absorption and retention afterwards, a powerful way of learning and getting people to do and practice things. You've had so much software development just, you know, that I'm a scrum master.

00:14:45:20 - 00:15:19:14
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I've got to bring ladies and gentlemen, here it is. Or I'm bringing in the first mention of Scrum in this episode, we know based on empirical process control theory or empirical philosophy, that human beings learn best by doing and having experiences hands on. And that's one of the beautiful things that I noticed in some of the work that Jeff's doing at Skill Builder is he's bringing that learning by doing right to the forefront so that you get exposed and you have to, like, go on a journey or a quest, if you will, through some of the videos and interactions.

00:15:19:14 - 00:15:39:08
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I think that's a powerful way for people to learn very fast. And you definitely have got my imagination going with all the different types of things that we can do. You mentioned that organizations are struggling with this, like just across the board. How did you get so involved with police organizations? Because it seems to be like just a very big part of your testimonial.

00:15:39:12 - 00:16:11:09
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As with most tech startups, there's a decent amount of pivoting and trying to figure out where the niche is and where it's the best fit. So the very beginning, I started by targeting people who are bestselling authors. I figured if they're a bestselling author, they probably they probably potentially become an expert in some sort of skill that could be extracted and put into a Skill Builder training after that, when it didn't go as well as I would have liked there, I then started looking.

00:16:11:21 - 00:16:39:18
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I tried finding trainers. People would take on LinkedIn with the trainer, and then I happened to pull out upon a police trainer and it was that was for use of force, police writing, a use of force, police report writing. And we, we rolled that out in a police agency, but then he disappeared on me and which kind of sucked after spending about 10 to 20 hours.

00:16:39:18 - 00:17:01:23
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So getting that going. But then I ran into another police trainer on that was related to DWI driving while intoxicated and under the influence a certain aspect of that and then we rolled that we created that will that are to a police agency. Then I had a bunch of other police chiefs go through it and they said that this would be amazing for police training.

00:17:03:12 - 00:17:32:10
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And then while doing that, I was looking for more police related skills sets. And I happened across the gentleman I'm working with from the Department of who was retired from the Department of Homeland Security, who has a specialty in active shooter response preparation. So that's kind of sort of the sequence of how things played out. I wasn't looking at it specifically, but it is good that it happened.

00:17:32:13 - 00:18:03:17
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I'm not surprised you got there. Just I listened to Jocko podcast, Jocko Willink, who's a Navy SEAL commander, and I've listened to quite a few of his shows. He's had interactions and comments from people on social media, a lot of a lot of police people and he's engaged with and there's been a need in policing, especially in the United States, where training has not been up to par with dynamic environments and needs or just something that's happened over the course of years where it's the same across all industries.

00:18:03:17 - 00:18:30:10
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You see, even in construction, the trades there are some union trades and nonunion trades and they have different degrees of training. Some have very sophisticated training centers that are, you know, multiple hundreds of millions of dollars, million square feet. And then some have just on the job training. So that's a huge range between the two. And the type of variation we see from the learner's perspective is vast.

00:18:30:10 - 00:18:52:11
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What what type of metrics are you seeing? It's like you've had some good feedback from police chiefs that are running departments. I'm imagining, you know, from dozens of officers to hundreds, if not even thousands, depending on the city, what type of things are important to leaders of organizations as far as what their students are learning? But does your system provide metrics or feedback on student learning?

00:18:52:11 - 00:19:14:05
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So attracts a lot of things from how long it took them to which things they did or didn't do. You could do you can overview their notes to see what they're actually going through, the exercises that's it's actually a from what other people have been telling me it's a big value add the fact that it tracks it. So you actually know from a managerial standpoint how they're interacting with it.

00:19:14:05 - 00:19:38:04
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And let's to the point where let's say that some an employee goes through it and there you see them regularly making a mistake, that it's like this was covered in the Skill Builder training. You can go in and then there could be a good chance that they didn't even look at that particular portion of it and they skipped it.

00:19:38:04 - 00:20:03:05
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And then it's like, Well, you skipped this. No wonder that you're still making that mistake over and over again. So stuff like that is there's a lot of things that are that are trackable. And I'm hearing from a lot of people now that that that's it's a big positive that I am happy I incorporated all that stuff even when I was when I was building it that it's a really good way for us to learn from mistakes, but we need feedback in order to learn if we failed or didn't fail.

00:20:03:05 - 00:20:27:08
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So the fact that you're partnering with experts to develop the training, an expert will see things and notice, just like a martial artist, a master teaching students, they will notice mistakes. The students make that the students themselves would not be aware of. Like if if you ever try to learn martial arts from a book, it's very difficult. So that's not going to that.

00:20:27:16 - 00:20:55:24
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That won't work. It's like this is right point blank, people. It's not going to work. But and there's also a big difference between learning things that are picking up skills that are physical compared to not. So every every skill, whether it's physical or otherwise, assuming that it's process based that any skill build are suitable is is excellent for anything that is process oriented and it's not suitable for things that are heavy, like just theory, heavy without a process.

00:20:55:24 - 00:21:22:01
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So specifically for process oriented things, anything where there's a set set of steps that that should be done in a certain order for it to come out right. And typically a series of mistakes that are made along the way that people commonly make that set it off track for almost any skill. There's usually a small number of different paths, different ways of doing it that will lead you to excellent success.

00:21:22:06 - 00:21:45:20
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And there is thousands or millions of different ways of doing it wrong. And if you don't know how to avoid the ways of doing it wrong and how to do it right, then you're almost guaranteed without somebody who's already learned the right way, you're almost guaranteed to take a wrong path at least one step of the process. And every time you do that, you don't know while you're doing it.

00:21:45:20 - 00:22:04:17
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But that one little veer in the wrong direction could set you back six months and you have no way of knowing it. You're just six months later and then six months later you're like, Oh, I'm doing this wrong. And then you try to course correct, but then you have to break down the bad habits and rebuild them better, which is also takes a long time.

00:22:04:17 - 00:22:29:20
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Pulling back on some experience that I learned in other industries when I was reading about what Dr. Jeff Sutherland was doing with software developers in the early days of Scrum in the 1990s, he had studied Aikido, a former martial arts, and he brought in the concept into his book of the four different levels of mastery, which in I believe it's going to just guess Japanese.

00:22:29:20 - 00:22:58:01
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It's Shuri, which stands for your first mimicking, then mastering the forms and then moving to the area where you can iterate and create some novelty. You can continue to improve. And then finally at the at the final level, at the master level, you can just make things happen based on any type of situation. So for creativity and ability, because of practicing through the different forms.

00:22:58:01 - 00:23:21:15
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And I wanted to know because you mentioned that you've had some martial arts training and you're bringing that into how you help people acquire skills, build their skills up. Jeff, what what parallels do you have or what are you bringing in for martial arts into the training for people that necessarily don't even know that there's a, an element of martial arts to their learning new skills acquisition?

00:23:21:15 - 00:23:53:09
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Yeah. So what's really important when you're to pick up a new skill or something effectively or quickly is you need to know clearly what to do, like very, very clearly what to do. Ambiguity makes it ambiguity or when things are unclear, it makes it very hard to pick something up. And it's very hard to make to remove all ambiguity from something that in itself takes a lot of practice.

00:23:54:09 - 00:24:34:10
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But when something is unclear, most people are going to guess and your guess is probably going to be wrong in most cases because there's so many possibilities of what's wrong to do and very few that are the right way to do it. So if you can make it as clear as possible and show them what not to do and then have them repeat it and repeat, repetition, repetition, repetition, repetition, repetition that allows them to drill in the right steps of what to do and avoid the wrong way of doing it.

00:24:34:10 - 00:24:58:08
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And I've seen how things come. Sometimes somebody could be struggling with something for over an hour, and then you teach them the right way. And with a minute, within a minute or two, they can you see them grasping it and remembering it. Yeah, I've always had this approach when I was teaching newer construction managers how to be inside of like because sometimes a lot of construction actually does have quite a bit of technology.

00:24:58:08 - 00:25:21:05
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Jeff We use, I mean, I know one company staffed by had they have over 50 different software applications inside of their construction organization. That's just people listening. Think about how many applications of Microsoft do you use in this company's operating with over 50 different pieces of software around the business. So it can be it can get complicated out there.

00:25:22:00 - 00:25:41:16
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But I always tell your people that I'm training. If you've if you're trying something like I show them what it is and let them try and let them learn a little bit because self-learning is powerful and of itself. I'd say as a rule of thumb, if you struggle for more than 5 minutes, need to get some feedback because you're probably just on the wrong path.

00:25:41:16 - 00:26:09:18
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And and using what we call heuristics or just forced solutions, it's not going to be the most effective thing, especially when we've got deadlines and and timetables we're trying to keep. You can serve a good learning experience, but like Jeff said, you want to get in good habits. It's sometimes just it's harder to unlearn the wrong way than to learn the one way or the better way from scratch.

00:26:09:18 - 00:26:58:13
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My sifu, my own way, martial arts master is like when you're trying to get better at something, you're not adding to it. You're chipping away and making it more well-defined. You're taking away the bad and the more bad. You take away the straw. If it's a punch or whatever it is, you're you're taking away all the tiny little details that are making your structure bad, that are that are making your technique worse, that are causing you to lose energy when you're in the case of punching to your punch, if you're talking grappling techniques or whatever that's preventing, like you're the small, you'll see that the smallest adjustment in technique is the difference between you struggling

00:26:58:13 - 00:27:20:23
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to try to get something on and, oh, completely effortless simplicity. Being able to do something to someone who's 50 or £100 heavier than you. And it's the little details often matter a lot that in of itself just reminds me of, you know, some of the other people that you've helped and Skill Builder has been in the mental health arena we're in now.

00:27:20:23 - 00:27:45:21
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I can't remember what year we're in of the pandemic. Just it's 2022. So people you do the math yourself of the years that we've been in this pandemic and mental health continues to be something that a lot of people are struggling with. And if you're out there listening to this episode and you're you're feeling challenged in the mental health arena, I've got some resources we'll put in the show notes for you, free resources that you can tap on if you need to.

00:27:45:24 - 00:28:05:07
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Don't worry about it. Just click and take advantage. That's what it's there for. But Jeff, you've helped some people in the mental health area. Do you talk about one of the examples of of the type of client you've engaged with and what kind of skills are people in this arena trying to pick up? So I found an expert trainer.

00:28:05:24 - 00:28:33:17
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His name's Ted Isidore, and he is one and he's trained more than 1500 people on applying what are called the ASEM criteria, other therapists on how to apply it. It helps to them to determine what level of care to to administer, to apply to a particular patient and I know nothing about it. I was there, but I was able to.

00:28:33:17 - 00:29:00:09
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That was actually a good test because I was able to realize that I could help somebody structure something like this, even when I have no knowledge based, whatever on the topic whatsoever. But it's basically teaching them how to apply these same criteria to determine the proper level of care for a patient in a systematic way and apparently it it's something that a lot of clinicians or therapists are not sure how to do.

00:29:00:09 - 00:29:23:00
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And it's a confusing thing that a lot of them are maybe doing incorrectly and and prescribing things based on their intuition as opposed to in this systematic way. And it's teaching them how to how to do that in a systematic way, the appropriate way based on exam, which is the governing body on that, what type of he said he's taught over 1500 people.

00:29:23:00 - 00:29:47:15
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Where where is that being deployed now so that we can see your handiwork out in the world everything Skill Builder is digital so it's not confined to any particular thing to any particular location for that one. We've rolled it out in two clinics so far. But again, if there is any, if there are any, if there is anyone out there, they can definitely contact us, meet that Skill Builder.

00:29:47:20 - 00:30:29:12
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And the beautiful thing about something digital like this, it's basically like taking him, digitizing him, and instead of doing all these long, detailed training sessions, just you get a couple of licenses, you get it on demand, and you can roll it out to all your therapists at any time. And it's like he's basically like he's spending individualized time, one on one with every person, amazing way to scale up and scale across and using technology to help make your work easier, better, and definitely going to be faster, more efficient because you can't be everywhere or at the same time, a lot of people listening right now and I just heard a statistic from Hal Macomb or

00:30:29:12 - 00:31:01:17
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was on my show earlier, and Hal is telling me that somewhere between for every 1 to 5 people leaving the construction industry either for retirement or changing career fields, there is only one new person coming in. So we have a massive amount of skills and experience leaving the industry at a pace faster. For those of you that are thinking about systems and if you're thinking about a stock, we're definitely lowering the stock and with experience is going out.

00:31:02:01 - 00:31:21:10
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And so we're going to need solutions like what Jeff is talking about with Skill Builder. If you're out there and if you've got some people in your organization that are really good at training or just fantastically skilled. Jeff, are you able to work with with experts that are not even perfect at training and to pull their skills out?

00:31:21:12 - 00:31:46:13
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Can you talk to me about that? So they don't need any expertise in training people per say, but they have to have nailed their own process and perfected it into down to basically a science and ideally taught other people as well. So that's sort of my criteria. What I for a long time, what I was looking for in a Skill Builder, expert, so to speak, is someone who's trained at least 500 people.

00:31:46:20 - 00:32:18:18
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If you've trained at least 500 people, then chances are if you've been successful yourself, repeat success over and over and over and over and over again, and that's important. So that we know that you have the right process down like in place. And having trained many people is really important because of the part where we outline all the common mistakes that people make along the way and the mistakes that you might have run into might not be the mistakes other people run into or think of.

00:32:18:18 - 00:32:38:13
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And if somebody is trained at least like 500 people, it's a good indicator that they've heard people express those mistakes, which will allow us to build it out properly. They don't need any experience training. They per say, they just they need to know how to do it right and they need to know what are the common mistakes that people make regularly.

00:32:38:13 - 00:33:20:00
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And from that, we can extract it, they can extract it out together and then we can build it. I love that. Jeff And behind the scenes I want to selfishly ask who we've got in our industry. So many construction people are also consumers of software, technology, applications, apps. Jeff, from your perspective on the inside being on the other side of this, on the other side of the table here on the software application, what are some things that you would like clients that are looking at, you know, any type of software that they're going to buy or purchase, what are some things that they should use to evaluate, you know, one piece of software solution to

00:33:20:00 - 00:33:41:05
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another or just in general, what are some good rules of thumb when looking at software to help solve or make your work easier and better? A lot of people kind of just jump into a software and see if they like it. I think the better business analyst for ten years, a business analyst, gathers business requirements and then typically translates them into specifications.

00:33:41:05 - 00:34:07:20
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And so I picked for this one because I was like, Oh, we're going to talk more about that business analyst time, too, don't you agree? So the big so the gathering of requirements so happens to be the biggest problem in all of software. It's the biggest thing that causes the that it's the thing that is usually skipped. It's the thing that is you either skipped, done incorrectly or done incompletely.

00:34:07:20 - 00:34:28:12
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And it's hard to do it properly. But on a more you can get into that more after if you like, but on a more basic level, if you're trying to evaluate a software to use, you want to write down what are your requirements? Don't just jump into don't just jump into a software and see if you like it.

00:34:29:06 - 00:34:55:17
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Note down what your requirements are your business needs like what? What do you need it to be able to do? Because then you're not just looking for something that's nice, you're solving your problems. And the whole thing is about people typically use software, particularly when it's for business to solve their problems. So you want to know what problems you're trying to solve and then once you know what problems you're trying to solve, then you can go into the software and hopefully it's user friendly enough and not too buggy and all that stuff.

00:34:55:23 - 00:35:17:24
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So because if it's too buggy, it can make you want to throw your phone across the room and if it's not user friendly, then it can be a huge pain in the butt to try to learn it, depending on if it's the only option or if it's so worth it and features, then you might spend the time doing that because of the value that it brings.

00:35:18:08 - 00:35:43:04
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But I think the first thing you want to do is really figure out what your requirements are and then try to find the check reviews for different softwares. And then and then. Then the ones that have the best reviews narrow it down to a couple of them and then try out the ones that you narrowed it down to and see if they meet the requirements and if they're easy.

00:35:43:04 - 00:36:00:11
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And then if one or more are, then you choose the one you like the most. A shout out to Dino Rossi, who is of past show guests that said the same thing that Jeff is reinforcing now. When you're going after an issue challenge, the first question to ask is What problem are we trying to solve? And you exactly said that.

00:36:00:11 - 00:36:21:08
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Jeff, have you been listening to my show? I I did listen I listened to a lot of stuff before coming on, but I didn't hear I didn't hear that one. Awesome. No, that's that's great. And as I've actually been part of several committees over the course of my career, 20 plus years in construction, selecting software to solve problems for and various different needs.

00:36:21:08 - 00:36:45:00
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And, and one of the things I've been fortunate to have some strong i.t group leads in some of these endeavors that we've been a part of. And I'm going to say the requirements gathering at the beginning was some of the most boring part from my perspective as somebody who's like just trying to build and run big work, it didn't seem like it was like after the fact.

00:36:45:00 - 00:37:05:07
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Jeff Like you're talking like it's a good thing to do, but it doesn't seem like it was done like in the best way possible. What are what are some ways from your business analyst days that you'd recommend to either people that are engaged in doing their requirements? Because you mentioned just like writing down the needs, like it sounds just so simple.

00:37:05:07 - 00:37:37:24
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Jeff But for my experience it was like going to the dentist and just and getting your teeth drilled. It's actually, in my view, it's the hardest part of software, as I mentioned. That's the part that's done most wrong, especially when you're designing any software system. It's the part that's done the most wrong or the most incompletely. And in many cases it's skipped because people don't even know you should be doing that a lot of the time, and it's all about asking the right questions.

00:37:37:24 - 00:38:05:14
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So I've always been, I guess naturally, I guess inquisitive or in some cases I could be argumentative depending on how you how you put it. But when I started as a business analyst, you learn how, how you have to I wouldn't say you learn how. And I guess it depends where you learn. You have to learn how to ask questions and the right questions and after the more you do anything, the better you get at it right.

00:38:05:21 - 00:38:22:05
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And the more projects you do it all, the more software projects you do it on. Right now, I'm at the point where just all the all the questions just just come to mind when I'm just, like, not even thinking about it. And just because I've done it so much and I've done so many different software systems and did they just come to mind?

00:38:22:05 - 00:38:42:24
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I write them down. Another one pops into mind, another one pops into mind another and all the they just kind of makes all the pieces fall into place. And it's like, okay, there's the software system, things that would normally take months to put together. But for someone who has not done the business analysis side of things, I think that the most important thing is to ask questions.

00:38:42:24 - 00:39:05:02
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And I always say that it's better to ask too many questions than not enough. And think, think a big problem with asking questions is a lot of people are too afraid to look stupid when they're asking too many questions. And for me, I've been doing it so long that I know that if a question is popping into my mind, it's because it's not clear enough just because I've been doing it so much.

00:39:05:02 - 00:39:37:07
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So I've never remotely worried or whatever about asking a question, because if I have the question can pretty confidently say that it's it was not clear enough and it needs to be further clarified. And I'm statistically speaking, I'm pretty much that's pretty much always the case and it needed further clarification. But that that's a that's an easy thing that anyone could do, which is just write down the questions that you have, ask them, try to think of as many questions as you can about what what the needs could be.

00:39:37:15 - 00:40:03:19
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And don't be afraid to spend the time to do that. In fact, you should spend the time doing it because the time you spend doing that is probably going to save you a lot, a lot, a lot of time and headaches and frustration afterwards. Where do you keep these questions like better practice? Do you recommend people just populate a spreadsheet with the questions and answers a a share document, a whiteboard?

00:40:03:19 - 00:40:27:00
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Were some of the places where you've seen better question, capture and use? You don't mind mapping as I do. Okay. So I've been I've been using a software called X Mind for the last ten years. I've tried some other mind mapping tools and wasn't a fan. So I've been using mine. I use it literally for everything all the time.

00:40:27:00 - 00:40:47:01
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There was a point where if something starts off smaller, I'd maybe put it into a open up, a new email or document, and then within 5 minutes I see that it's getting a little bit more complex. I right away and put it into an X mine file. So at this point I just always put everything into an X mine because I know that it's going to get a little bit more complicated, sometimes very complicated.

00:40:47:01 - 00:41:16:12
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And I find that's a good way to write quickly, to keep things organized, to rearrange things, to manage your thoughts well. Satisfied, my edge on the business analyst part almost that's got one more scratch on that one. A lot of learning outside of the construction industry to pick up new and better ways of doing things that have definitely helped me transform how I deliver projects with teams that are remote hybrid thanks to the pandemic.

00:41:16:12 - 00:41:45:18
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Again, thank you pandemic for creating so much variation and challenges to overcome. But one of the key things that I've seen in business analyst training, at least some of the courses that I've taken, is that there's this focus on continuous improvement for sure, and helping people become more effective in the role. What what can you say? Just broad scope, broad strokes for people that might listening and might not know what a business analyst is responsible for.

00:41:45:18 - 00:42:07:08
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If you're trying to, let's say, build a house, then it's very hard to build a house without a blueprint. And so blueprints would be the specifications. How do you get the blueprint? Well, you need to ask the right questions. How many bathrooms should should it have? How many flaws should it have? Where should bathroom be positioned in the kitchen?

00:42:07:08 - 00:42:29:01
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How big is it? Is does it have a microwave? Where is the microwave located? Is it where is the position that there's two to that to get the lay of the land in terms of how a house should be put together? You could ask thousands of questions if you wanted to get really, really specific, and it's the same idea.

00:42:29:01 - 00:43:06:04
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But with regards to software, software is harder for people because unlike a house, the software is very in concrete. If you don't understand it well, it's very hard to visualize because you don't know what goes into creating it unless you've done it, unless you've done programing, unless you've done different design the database, unless you all these things, unless you've seen how the data is manipulated and created and stored and everything, but it's essentially that it's out, it's coming up with all the questions needed order to know what the needs are.

00:43:06:04 - 00:43:43:01
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And then once you know what the needs, the requirements are, then that you can translate into specific nations. And then the specifications, the blueprints can then be used by developers to to build it. A lot of mistake, a big mistake that most people, most non-technical people make is they think that if you want to make software, you hire a developer, a coder coding is, I would say one out of nine or ten in different technical disciplines needed in order to make software properly there.

00:43:43:10 - 00:44:06:09
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Yeah. So it's about why coding specifically is literally like knowing how to write the syntax of English if you don't know what a form proper sentence, then it doesn't matter how well you know how to write English. You're not going to it's going to come out bad if you the but there's multiple there's at least six seven steps before you even jump into any sort of coding.

00:44:06:09 - 00:44:30:21
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And it's actually reason why most software fails and most software turns out bad is because people have a lot of misunderstandings and misconceptions about software and how to do it properly. That's it's it's one of those things, Jeff where it always goes back to my early days, my early training as a young computer engineer before I switched majors, as we were talking about before the show got started to electrical engineering like yourself and almost had a computer science minor.

00:44:30:21 - 00:44:57:17
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So I've had software training since the beginning and built computers as a teenager for fun because I wanted to get on the internet. Hello, people, come on. But I'm amazed now. All this years and time and construction just there's so many parallels, even the way that we talk about how things are constructed in software development. It sounds like you're talking about a construction project like in software.

00:44:57:17 - 00:45:19:12
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We even have what's called architecture. You have these operating systems that are like your operations for how you do things, just how you put things together. And the parallels are just they're limitless people. So if you're listening to this, you're like, Well, they're getting kind of nerdy on software. It's like, that's exactly the type of nerdiness you get on a construction project site with just different words.

00:45:19:12 - 00:45:49:04
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But I think the there are probably some better practices, Jeff, on how things are put together and just how we build things up. And it it transfers across multiple industries. So I'm just glad to hear, at least selfishly, you're reinforcing that for me. What is a good place for people to get in touch with you if they want to learn more about that Skill Builder, they can go to Skill Builder, Dot Academy, their number of videos there.

00:45:49:15 - 00:46:32:07
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They can also see me on LinkedIn. Jeff Zigman. They can also maybe we can perhaps we can put some of the links in the description and you can put that. So I, I did get a domain remote active shooter preparation dot com which will lead to that particular page. If anyone is interested in exploring the what I call remote scalable employee training, that's where I go into a company analyze which processes are causing the most damage, if you will, by people making the most mistakes on a regular basis in depth.

00:46:32:07 - 00:46:56:16
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They could reach out to me and can see if there's a possible fit in that capacity as well. Yeah, the active shooter response preparation and that scalable employee training are the two main areas I'm currently focusing on. Thank you, Jeff and I absolutely love that. In your organization, you don't have to be adept at the types of skills and the training that people need.

00:46:57:03 - 00:47:20:13
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And you given us the requirements to engage with Jeff, you have to be at least proficient enough or you taught 500 people successfully. I love that. The prerequisite somebody wants to work with me to create a training on a new skill set. They need more beyond that. They need to have a ton of market connections so that we can get easy market penetration.

00:47:20:13 - 00:47:54:12
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So there's more requirements on that front if they want to be like a Skill Builder, expert, so to speak. But if they if it's a company that has 500,000, 10,000, 50,000 employees, whatever it is, and they know they have training problems that they would like to fix, then they don't have to worry about that as long as they have, let's say, a top performer who knows the process properly, who that I'd be able to work with, then I can essentially their the technique, if you will, from that person, and we can create it from there.

00:47:54:12 - 00:48:18:06
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So a lot of the people listen to my show, Jeff, our continuous improvement experts or in other areas, they might be value stream managers and they've got different titles or people that are involved. They could even be business analysts, Jeff, that are helping to make, you know, how the business operates better. And so I think there's a lot of synergy there with people listening to the show.

00:48:18:06 - 00:48:43:08
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They're going to find this insightful, invaluable. Jeff, what's one thing that we haven't talked about yet that would be valuable for you to share with the audience? I don't know anything construction, but I do know something about process optimization, which I think is, you know, I think that the two things that I that I know, which is how to train and teach things and how to optimize processes and also how to organize information.

00:48:43:08 - 00:49:35:07
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Those are actually all really universal principles. I think that anyone can get much, much, much better at everything they do if they spend time analyzing how they're doing things and trying to optimize what they're doing. And I think it's something that few people do. And the amount of time you can save and meaning that like if you can save 50% of your time by by analyzing and breaking down what you're doing for any process that you're doing, then if you can if you can if you could reduce that time by 50%, that means you can probably achieve 50% more every single day.

00:49:35:18 - 00:49:56:01
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If you're an employee and you're in a good company where they'll notice that you'll probably get it. You end up making more money. If you're if you're an owner or someone who's owned, manages their own company, that means it's either more time that you can get done more or gives you you'll probably be able to make more money for your business.

00:49:56:01 - 00:50:14:05
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If you imagine if you can free up 50% of your time, that doesn't even go into automation. Like right now. I've automated so much stuff of my own that it's like I have 2 to 4 assistants working for me full time all the time, never making any mistakes ever. But that that's more complicated because that requires some technical skills.

00:50:14:05 - 00:50:37:21
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But to optimize, to analyze and optimize your own processes that you're doing every day, you don't need technical skills for that. You just need to write stuff down, think it through and see how you can make it a little more efficient, as super valuable as gentlemen. And for those you systems thinkers, systems thinkers out there, what Jeff is talking about is connecting back their feedback loop at the end.

00:50:38:07 - 00:50:57:09
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It's something that we often skip and it's going to be a topic of a live stream with Katie Anderson and Jake Harrell. We're going to be looking at the the PDK cycle, the plan to track adjust cycle or the plan to study at cycle and seeing. Is there a better entry point into that to get some of this reflection?

00:50:57:09 - 00:51:27:06
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And Katie Anderson is going to be arguing for starting with the reflection first and not focusing on just experimentation, blindly blind experimentation. So I think that's going to be interesting and it definitely touching on a nerve there in the Scrum Framework. Jeff, one of the key elements of Scrum is this retrospective meeting where at the end a team does a very focused look at how did they actually work?

00:51:27:19 - 00:52:00:19
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And experiments come out of that ideas for improvement that radically transformed how the team works. And we see massive gains, just like what you're talking about, where people pick up 50% more of the time and prove just how they work in traditional project management methodologies. There isn't an event or a trigger to have people do this reflection in smaller batches so they have more at bats on an A regular cycle.

00:52:00:19 - 00:52:20:04
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So don't get mad at me. Project management professionals. I know that you do like a post mortem, but that's at the very end of the project. And projects could be ten years long. One year long. That's too late. So, like, we're just talking about what I'm talking about is getting that reflection and feedback earlier so you can make those adjustments.

00:52:20:04 - 00:52:45:09
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And then as you're increasing your capacity, you might even nerd out like Jeff and I do some automation. I also have some automation that helps me for some of the things that I do. Jeff And it's, it is like having multiple systems that don't make mistakes. Now, one of my, one of my automation tools made a mistake that caused people to double book my calendar, but that was totally on me because I had not connected this other calendar.

00:52:45:09 - 00:53:15:18
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People were had the ability to double book. So at one point, one person, you know, bless his heart, Rob, Rob was like the magic winner. He only would his only choosing times that were double book and so the but having that mistake allowed me to fix it and now it could never happen again or even for anything. I think it's always good to invite people to try to break your what you created or criticism at because other people are going to see things.

00:53:15:18 - 00:53:33:17
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Even if you have a really good eye, other people are going to see things or run into issues that you don't. And the more times I do that with every actually with every Skill Builder training, I take it through a process. Initially, I do it like a beta release and then I invite numerous people to go through it.

00:53:33:22 - 00:53:55:21
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We iterate on it to see where it's weak, what's unclear and take it through this multiple iterate of stages so that when it's ready to release to 500, a thousand, whatever people, you have something that has actually had the feedback and the criticisms of numerous people. And that's really the only way to get to something that's perfect, right?

00:53:55:21 - 00:54:16:02
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Is, you know, people, perfectionists try to release something that's perfect, which doesn't exist. And the way you actually get the perfect is you release something that's in the word garbage, but you release something that's garbage. You invite criticisms, you see what other people seem. Then you plug all the holes. And my 12 year old says, you release something that's trash.

00:54:17:01 - 00:54:40:21
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So, yeah, it's his favorite phrase, like, that's trash. That that's what you do. You release some. Well, I didn't release Phil the Skill Builder when it was fully ready. I released it when it was not. And then I had then I was able to get pull in feedback from people and improve it and improve it and screen share and watch how they interacted and watch the mistakes and the things that were unclear and then try to figure out how to solve it.

00:54:40:21 - 00:54:58:17
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And you got to do that. The only way to to call it a perfect product. Beautiful of that. Jeff, you get the last word on the show. I got the last word. Last you get the last phrasing. Let me take the pressure down. You don't have to write one single word. You can get the last phrase you get the last say.

00:54:59:23 - 00:55:02:21
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Thanks for having me. It was nice chatting. It was good.

00:55:02:21 - 00:55:29:13
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Very special thanks to my guest. I'm Felipe Engineer-Manriquez. The EBFC Show is created by Felipe and produced by a passion to build easier and better. Thanks for listening. Stay safe, everybody. Let's go build!