Leaky bucket

The Leaky Bucket Syndrome of Learning

Teaching is a leaky bucket process. You start with a whole bucket of information. When you train someone how to do something, a little information leaks out. When they train someone else and that information is taught to someone else, some of that information leaks out. The people being taught only get that limited version of the information based on their understanding and ability to articulate the material.
By the time you are in the third or fourth generation of people passing along the information, you only have about half a bucket remaining and you’ve lost half the information. There’s a sense that something’s missing. What do they do? When the bucket of information gets low, people start putting in their own content in. The problem is that it might not be good content. Very rarely does the material improve over time with this process. 

So how do we plug these leaks?

I learned early on the best solution is to write everything down and to develop “train the trainer” material so there was consistency in the system and the training needs to be conducted in a way that is scalable. When teaching, your “whole bucket” needs to be written down and all the parties who conduct the training need to follow the process without adding or substituting their own stuff. Making the training as part of a replicable system is the best way to fill the leaks. This became even more important as we spread BNI into various countries and cultures worldwide.
Thank you, Colin Horner, for the graphic

3 thoughts on “The Leaky Bucket Syndrome of Learning

  1. An important part of training is also background information and the reasons why something is essential. This is a part of Job Instruction Training, developed in the early 1940s as part of Training Within Industry (TWI), which became later on the basis of the Toyota Production System and Lean Management.

  2. The majority of my referrals come from clients, then medical professional and BNI. I train to have my clients and all who refer to not give too much information about my services but keep it simple and have them call me. It has worked for me. Human being are curious, they want to know more. For me this way the bucket stay more full.

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