Practice Makes Perfect…

skyeteam leadership development


In a previous post I talked about the knowing vs doing gap and gave an example that occurs each time in our coaching program.  Here I want to explore what happens after a workshop (or event in the workplace) and the importance of practice.

We all know that practice helps us to build our confidence and capability no matter what the skill or behavior we are trying to master.  Yet, despite the best of intentions, many of us leave a workshop or leadership development program with the best of intentions to practice the new skills, only to allow the real world overwhelms us and to continue as before, with one new ring binder on our shelf as a shiny memento of the time spent in the workshop or program.

I really like the following quote

Leadership Is A Contact Sport – Marshall Goldsmith

In the article, Marshall Goldsmith talks about the importance of including others in your development plans.  Whether it be following a 360 Feedback process or attending a workshop.  Share your insights and the implications for your own behavior and approach going forward.  Don’t promise to transform yourself, but do ask for help in ‘catching you being you’.  Maybe you are working on developing collaboration and team work and in the past your approach (and natural style) is to step in with the ‘answer’ before anyone has had a chance to draw breath.  You leave the program determined to ‘ask first and tell second’.  Sharing this with your team and requesting in the moment feedback when you forget not only helps you to apply the new learning, but sends a clear message to your team.

The article goes on to show that where people share their learning goals and ask others for their help in reaching them achieve a greater reported improvement in leadership and management skills than those who don’t. Ask for help, ask for feedback, it is this guided practice that will generate the greatest benefit for you (and those around you).  In the same way as people seek coaches to improve their sporting game, a trusted adviser or business coach can help you to prepare and practice your business skills, whether it be delivering an effective presentation, building a high performing team or delivering tough messages. The trusted adviser you choose could be a friend, family member, work colleague or trained coach. Ensure that who ever you choose can tell you what you need to hear vs what you want to hear.

I recently came across an recent article that reports the results of a recent University of Colorado study which shows how practice can not just make perfect… but that more practice may make you more efficient. Where some of us tend to sit back and relax when we feel we have mastered a new skill this article demonstrates that practice beyond perfection leads to efficiencies that may not immediately be apparent.  When we practice beyond perfection our brain and body is able to respond more efficiently requiring less oxygen and energy to complete the task.

What do you need to practice or keep practicing?