If you ever played sports or a musical instrument, then you know how much these endeavors revolve around practice. Hours and hours of practice.
Despite the fact that tournament games and music recitals get all the attention, it’s the hours of practice and drilling that really underpin any successes in those fields. And regardless of how much you lamented the time spent honing your fundamentals – executing the basics over and over – you can’t deny the fact that it made you better.
Why is it that this emphasis on practice doesn’t carry over to the business world?
At first glance, you may be thinking that there’s no time. It’s always game day in the life of a business person, right? We obviously don’t have the resources to both scrimmage and run a successful company.
What you need to keep in mind, though, is that every day we have the chance to practice the fundamentals of business, the seemingly simple things that actually facilitate the functional areas of our companies. These are things like communication, management, and leadership.
Experiment with new ways to communicate. If you almost exclusively use email, try introducing instant messaging into the mix. If you never make phone calls, try giving key partners a ring. Note your successes as well as the things that didn’t go well. Experimentation is a form of practice as it allows you to figure out the techniques that work best so that you can refine them.
If you’re a manager, try increasing or decreasing the amount of time you spend directly managing your subordinates’ work. You may find that one individual really thrives with more direct supervision, creating even better work than before. On the other hand, you may find that another employee is able to produce a solid product with almost none of your input, allowing you the time to focus on some other elements of your job.
Professionally facilitated programs are also a great way to afford your team some time for practice. Communication workshops and programs that emphasize team problem solving are a great way to get out of the office while practicing those core fundamentals that help a company operate smoothly and efficiently. Bettering your organization in these areas can also encourage more innovation. Regardless of how you incorporate it into your work-life, it’s clear that practice is good for business.
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