Book Review from Chris Zane

ORBiT is Fantastic! I actually read it twice to ensure I didn't miss anything.  Through trial and poor of the past 35 years, I managed to figure out what works.  After reading Dan's, straight forward, example and outcome, I now have an in-depth understanding of why it works and more importantly, how it works, allowing me to be even more persuasive in obtaining desired results.  From why "shadowing" is ineffective and a poor business practice to the "buy in" from a negative simulation, Dan has provided invaluable material in his unquestionable area of expertise.  If you are responsible for leading a team, training employees, or simply want to better interact with coworkers this is a must read book.  Instead of surfing the internet or scrolling Facebook, invest a few hours in bettering yourself and read ORBiT.

Chris Zane - Author of Reinventing the Wheel

President of Zane's Cycles

ORBiT: Negative Simulation

People talk about bike riding when they want to remind us that some things, once learned, are not forgotten.  What they don't mention is how we learned. No one learns to ride a bike from a book, or even a video.

You learn by doing it.

Actually, by not doing it. You learn by doing it wrong, by falling off, by getting back on, by doing it again. It is this approach works for a lot of things, not just bikes. Most things, in fact.

The first step of ORBiT is “Establish Context.” Once the “student” understands the impetus for the training—the why, rather than the what—they’re far more open to it, and therefore more likely to actually absorb the information and integrate it into their lives.

The next step of ORBiT is perhaps the most important: “Negative Simulation.”

This is also often the most surprising. As trainers, we feel some inherent need to offer only positive experiences to our trainees. In reality, negative simulations are of immense value. Here’s why.

1.     In order to genuinely learn, adults need experience. Unlike kids, we’re not sponges who simply absorb knowledge. We have to experience something and develop our own observations.

2.     The first negative simulation also offers an opportunity for you as the trainer to extend that “establishing context” step a bit further. If you’re the first to invest in the negative simulation, you gain that next level of buy-in and respect from your trainees.

3.     Bad things happen—it’s a fact of life. By creating a negative simulation, rather than a positive one, you’re offering your trainee a unique brand of preparation. So when something bad does happen, they won’t panic.

4.     And because those bad things do happen, a negative simulation lends the training a bit more reality and, as such, a bit more engagement.

5.     You want your trainee to experience the negative simulation with all of their senses—not just a visual representation, but one with sounds and tangible elements that will stick with them. Most importantly, you want to connect with them on an emotional level. As adults, we don’t just learn with our minds—it’s much more complicated. Tap into that emotion and you’ve got a far more engaged student.

6.     By debriefing the student after the negative simulation, you’re cracking into that next layer of influence. Ask questions and let them provide the answers so that they become the experts.


Negative simulations may be intimidating, but they’re invaluable. Learn more about how to effectively integrate negative simulations into your trainings with ORBiT: The Art & Science of Influence. 

How do You Influence?

As leaders—of specialty retailers, manufacturers, sports teams and families—we forget sometimes that influencing adult behavior is at the core of what we do. And more than that, it’s a challenging obstacle.


When we step into a room of adults and try to directly change their behavior, the backlash is immediate and negative. Unlike kids, who are programmed to learn and glean lessons from leaders like you, adults are programmed to think for themselves and argue with whatever—and whoever—contradicts their own ideas.


So how do you persuade these freethinkers to think more like you? How do you influence them to be better employees (or students) in order to help you, help the company, and help themselves?

The first step in influencing adult behavior is surprisingly simple: establish context.


Though it’s simple, this is also twofold. Before you begin establishing context for your peers and students, you need to establish context internally.


Ask yourself, “what is my cause?” We talked a few months ago about the importance of defining your vision, and it’s a concept that applies here perfectly. Though we’re not asking you to decide your life plan before you approach this “influencing session,” you should have a clear definition of why you’re speaking to them, and how that fits into the larger context of your vision.


Once you have a clear vision of your intention, it’s possible to share it with others and to translate it into a language they can understand. It’s impossible to influence the behavior of others if you’re not direct in your own intention. When you approach influence with a clear and concise objective, you can package it into digestible bites for your employees or “students.”


So now that you’ve established your own context, you can establish context as a baseline for influence. But this is no easy task.


The immediate reaction of adults is to ask questions. “What are we working on?” “Why are we working on it?” “How long will this take?” “What’s in it for me?” Whether or not they voice this to their boss, these questions are inevitably circulating in the minds of your students. And, to be fair, those are all legitimate questions, questions that you should be able to answer now that you’re clear in your objective. Failing to address these questions before you begin to influence their behavior is fatal to effectively changing their behavior long-term. They won’t want to learn, so they won’t.


Because you have a clear understanding of your objectives and can stand behind them, it’s easy to persuade your students of the merit of your cause. Address each of these questions thoughtfully, individually, and in regards to the context you’ve already established within yourself. Once you’ve addressed each question, they’ll be much more likely to invest in the training because they understand its validity.


Another bonus of answering those concerns and establishing context is that you earn your students’ trust. You show them the respect they deserve by addressing their concerns and substantiating their thoughts and time. Now they’ll offer you that same respect by incorporating the training that follows into their behavior.