Maybe I am getting old!
Years ago there were things that use to just bug me but those same things now irritate me. Things that used to irritate me now make me really frustrated.
While I am sure age is a factor (there is some truth in the ‘grumpy old man’ moniker), I also think that when you constantly hear the same things over and over again, then a sense of frustration is normal.
I was in the middle of a client meeting recently when the topic moved on to sales competences and the training given to the client’s salesforce. We were discussing presenting skills using powerpoint and how to make powerpoint bring your presentations to life. While the client agreed that technology has moved on and there may be some value in doing some refresher training, he didn’t want to demotivate his sales team by asking them to go on another presentation skills course.
“They all went through Presentation Skills training a couple of years ago!”
It was at this point that I had to bite my tongue.
Why is it that in so many fields, practice makes perfect…..but when it comes to the business world we perpetuate the notion that if someone undertook training at some point in the past, then that is all they need?
The box has been ticked!
Golfers practice every single day. Athletes practice every single day. Actors, singers, writers, painters, nurses, teachers amongst others, practice their skills regularly to ensure peak performance. We even ensure that there is adequate repetition and practice in the school curriculum for our children.
So where is the disconnect when it comes to business?
I know people are busy. I know that education costs money. I know there are plenty of conflicting priorities. I know that many organisations don’t support employee development. But even in those organisations that have good T&D functions and could be regarded as a ‘learning organisation’, the attitude still exists. When I worked in HR for General Electric, famous for their employee development, most people wanted the tick in the box, get on the next new thing or go to London for that conference. But when it came to consistent reinforcement of knowledge and skills……re-training or refreshers were not seen as value-add.
I recently read ‘Outliers’ by Malcolm Gladwell and he refers to the 10,000 rule. He asserts that those people who become great at something have probably spent about 10,000 hours practicing and this gives them the edge in sport, in business or in life.
I thought about this and how it related to my own experiences. There are half a dozen or so topics in my life that I have dedicated around 10,000 hours to. And yes, I have been acknowledged by others in some way in relation to these things. So whether it be Wine, The Animal Kingdom, Football, Jazz Music or my job as a Training Consultant, the 10,000 hours theory rings true, for me anyway.
However, it still raised a few questions in my mind.
Do people only want to educate themselves in topics that they are passionate about?
Are people much less passionate about their jobs than hobbies and interests at home?
Or is it much simpler than that. As adults, do we just lose ‘the lost art of practice’?
What do you you think?