“The spray and pray way” vs “The every day way”?


Author: Anders Christian Hjort

This evening I got inspired by the Youtube video below (Originally aired February 1999) interview with Daniel Goleman. Daniel is an acknowledge psychologist and journalist and the author of “Working With Emotional Intelligence”. Goleman believes that and have found proof in brain research, that I.Q. is not longer as valued as it once was as being an indicator of a person’s success. Now it is Emotional Intelligence that has become the new yardstick. Emotional Intelligence refers to areas like self-awareness, empathy and social skills, and it is these qualities that employers are now looking for.

In this interview he explains why applying the “Spray and pray way” when training people in emotional intelligence skills wont make it – simply because the brain is not wired for learning these skills in that way.

What I also found was that Daniels findings go well with the research finding and approach we apply with our clients at Huthwaite. Having seen this I thought, “What about the “how to´s”. We know something about these skills in behavioural terms. We help our clients achieve durable transfer of training also on emotional intelligence skills . So why not share some thought from our reasearch and practical experience from working with major multinational, that also resonates with the brain reasearch from Daniels studies.

“Spray and pray way”

Billions of US-dollars are invested every year on improving people performance the “Spray and pray way”.

Not many people know that after 30 days only 13% of what you learned will stick, and only a few “aha´s” will find application on-the-job for the many. The event was great and entertaining, however old habits stick, and no behaviour change achieved.

Where in the corporate world today would you accept a ROI that low?

No wonder that training budgets are the ones to get cut first…

Also, not many people know that new research Daniel Goleman refers to have uncovered that the brain is not wired for success when applying the “Spray and pray way” in areas where emotional intelligence skill like empathy and social skills are the hard currency to make it or break it.

Winning organisations know this and choose a different way, and they even keep on investing in training their people in bad time – and for a good reason: ROI.

The Customer Buying Experience


Today the battle for winning new big business is definitely not a one man show. It´s a team effort that requires social skills and empathy. The latest research study from Huthwaite International show that winning organisations work as one team around The Buying Cycle of the customer. It´s all about mastering the Customer Buying Experience (CBE) before, during and after the purchase decision is being made. Performing well in every stage will help you create an outstanding CBE. The skills you need in each and every stage and customer touch point, being either internal or external towards your colleagues and most important towards your customers are hard differentiators. Your basic interactive skills, that will help create and capture value during conversations with colleaques and customers are core to your success both as an individual and as a team.

The emotional intelligence skills comes to play here more than ever, and honing these skills will not happen if you choose “The spray and pray way”, Daniel Goleman says in the Yourtube interview. The brain is not wired to do this. – and I agree from a behavioural point of view. Training and improving people skills in jobs where you need to interact and apply your emotional intelligence with colleaques or clients to succeed, will require that you hone and master your emotional intelligence skills like sports people hone their skills day in and day out. For people like CxOs, sales executives, top negotiators in procurement roles, service people using emotional intelligence skills, another approach for improving performance is needed.

Winning organisations choose “The every day way”

Having worked with major multinational brands for many year, I know that many things are in play when transfer of training succeeds in the emotional skills arena. People in major multinational corporations know what they are doing in every tiny detail, and that this is worth the effort. I have the greatest respect for the people and organisations that truly get to the core of what behaviour change is all about. It´s a common mind set, It´s knowing that there is no quick fix, and that it´s the never ending tasks of training and giving your people a clear reference and motivational feedback that will help feed and improve skill performance. These great people and organisations achieve outstanding behavioural outcomes that help them create value and stand out in the mind of the customers. They capture the value at the same time for themselves, and by this they achieve the results that winning companies do when they outperform their average peers.

The latest research study “Creating and Capturing Value” from Huthwaite International also show that organisations where people work together as ONE towards the customer are more profitable.


Organisations that choose “the every day way” knows the value of embedding a motivational training and feedback culture as their DNA. They train and improve their people skill performance in incremental and iterative steps of Plan, Do, Review cycles. Further they apply proven best practices success models as a reference to strive for – day in and day out – In this way the desired skill sets become habits that stick over time and the Return on Investment follows.

At Huthwaite International we call it:

The Huthwaite Approach

Now its time for Daniel Goleman – Enjoy and get inspired!

More details on the behavioural reserach we do at Huthwaite International here:



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