I was at lunch yesterday with a friend to celebrate his recent promotion. He’s a professor. Shortly after we toasted his success, he said that he was moving to Seattle for the year because his college/employer was sending him on a one-year sabbatical: to learn from what others are doing and to practice what he is teaching.
Can you imagine getting a promotion and then being told to leave the office for the year — PAID — on a professional exploration of learning and practice? As the CEO of a fast growing start-up, I know how hard it is to leave the day-to-day for even 5 minutes to reflect, learn, or practice. But I also know that once I commit to practice, I’m getting better. This was never more apparent than my rebrand announcement where I literally practiced the video 25+ times.
All too often, we simply REPEAT; we don’t see any changes but we don’t do anything about it because we are creatures of habit. All too often, we just show up and feel that we have done our part, but is that enough? We are satisfied with the way it is, when we know we can be better.
A leader — someone who is recognized for initiative, insightfulness, trust, and passion — wants to grow, learn and practice. You don’t have to be the CEO of your company to approach work and life like this — you may be the coach for your kids’ soccer team, the organizer for a volunteer event, or the person at your company who wants to make a change. In all cases, if you simply repeat what was, the results will never change. Add learning, openness, and practice to the mix, and then your commitment to repetition will take you places you’ve never been before.
A recent Forbes article stated, “The problem is that many leaders don’t conceive of behavioral leadership as a skill set to be developed the way their technical skills were once developed.” This article focuses on leadership capabilities and suggests that even at the very highest levels of the organization, leaders who practice win.
You can only get better when you dedicate yourself to learning, trying, and practicing. There is no downside to this. But the alternative surely comes with a cost. At Rehearsal, we see this every day. We have proof that practice works and that it results in financial, professional, and personal wins.