The Power of Practice
Practice is the best of all instructors.
~Publilius Syrus (100 BC)
Professional athletes typically spend about 90 percent of their time training in order to be able to perform 10 percent of the time. They have an off-season of four to five months each year.
Corporate athletes aren’t so fortunate. Teams are lucky to practice 5 percent of the time in order to perform 95 percent of the time. Most of us only have two to three weeks "off-season," to rest and recuperate.
How much time do your teams spend practicing together? Wouldn't it be great if we had the time to practice the fundamentals like the pros do? But we don’t. However, when learning new teamwork skills, practice is very important as it overwrites old habits and patterns.
All training should include a follow-up plan, ideally one developed by the team during the training session. Practice benefits from structure and discipline. During your next training session, ask the group:
- How will you reinforce, support and refine the new behaviors or processes?
- What changes need to be made to the work environment to make this possible?
- How will you follow-up? Meetings? E-mails? Commit these to a master calendar to which everyone has access.
- Who will be responsible for holding the team accountable to the new learning? Letting them choose is the best bet.
- By what date will the team show mastery of the new skill set?
Once the plan has been laid out, commit it to paper and have the entire team sign off on it.
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