From Learning to Doing: Quantity vs. Quality

I’m finishing up SPIN Selling, a great book on sales techniques, and at the end the author talks about implementing the stuff you learn.

He compares implementing what the book talks about with learning a new language.  He says in the past, language courses focuses on the quality of learning, but when they switched the model to the quantity (talking more, writing more, and worrying about fixing errors later) the learning happened at 5 times the rate.

This makes a lot of sense to me – since 6th grade I was in Spanish classes and have lived in Spanish-speaking areas for 6 years.  I love Spanish and I learned to speak/read it really well.

I think that if my first 4 years of Spanish would have been different – focusing on the quantity instead of fixing every tiny little error, that I would have been conversational a lot quicker.

This is how babies learn to talk.  There are *some* similarities between this and the Suzuki music method (I know, I know, they focus a lot on quality).

How does this relate to your job search?

Perhaps you are not doing things as you focus on quality issues… sometimes you need to just DO THE THING.

Pick up the phone, even if you aren’t positive what you’ll say.

Go to the networking event, even if you don’t have a business card.

Say your 30 second elevator commercial, even thought it is not perfected.

Send out your resume, even if you haven’t gotten feedback from your 20 friends yet.


As you do them you can improve.  You can constantly get better.  But focusing on perfect, which can be a grand deterrent to actually doing the thing, will leave you behind.

Not to say that quality isn’t important, but if you aren’t doing anything because you are worried about quality then you need to adjust.

(similar concept: what is the difference between “good enough” and “perfect?”)

1 thought on “From Learning to Doing: Quantity vs. Quality”

  1. G’Day
    Always glad to hear of someone familiarising themselves with the great work of Neil Rackham, Your comment reminded me of some words by self development guru, Bob Procter “Do the thing to get the energy to do the thing.”

    Make sure you have fun



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