A famous surgeon once said that he could teach someone how to remove an appendix in just a couple of hours. “It’s not difficult,” he said. “But, it would take me four years or longer to teach them what to do if something went wrong during the operation.”

It only takes a few hours of training, one or two full days to teach the ‘basics’ of effective collection techniques, ranging from the phases of a collection call, how to write effective letters and email, altering one’s telephone voice, how to handle difficult people and the ten or so standard negotiating techniques. Yet, effectively putting them into practice in the challenges of high pressure for productivity – takes longer.

I’ve been around this business for quite a few years now, yet consider myself a student. To do otherwise is misguided at best, perhaps even delusional. Heraclitus would agree: We can’t step into the same river twice. Not only is the river changing, so is our body-mind-spirit. Learning/training never stops.
Good enough?

Maybe what we know or have taught served us well for yearsGiven our dynamic predicament, what we need is a philosophy of training and living that is fundamentally open-ended, continuous and sustainable, something that lives and breathes. Fortunately, we are beginning to see some moves in this direction. There’s a lot of talk nowadays about something called “long-term athletic development.” Coaches and trainers have come to the conclusion that short-term, single-season training is not enough to transform young athletes into high performers and they’re looking to extend the time line from months to decades. Many common estimates now hold that it takes some 10,000 hours or 10 years of concentrated effort to achieve mastery in athletics, or any other art for that matter.