Can/can’t open

Photo by edwin josu00e9 vega ramos on Pexels.com

I have the most frustrating can opener in the world. It’s a top of the can design that you place over the rim, pull the handles together, and then turn a rotor on top. If I hold it closed with my left hand and turn with my right, it doesn’t work well. Hold it with my right and turn it with my left, it works fine.

I’ve become used to it and it doesn’t cause me as much frustration as before. I’ve become used to its idiosyncrasies and work with its foibles now.

If the same happens at work, we train the user to try and force the ‘correct’ behaviour; this is the training function’s bread and butter. We might investigate the tool; this is a contract manager and supplier issue. We might look to replace the tool with something similar, or a new and different tool that does the same thing but is ‘easier’; this is the procurement function’s issue.

Or we can look at the thing as a whole, and, as long as the behaviour we’re recommending isn’t dysfunctional or unethical, help people use the tool differently. That’s the performance supporting, shopkeeper to engineer, modern learning function issue.

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