Achieving perfection doesn’t happen overnight and because of that, the thought of perfecting a skill is daunting to most. The situations in which one applies soft skills constantly change, so the idea of flawless execution is unrealistic. Perhaps we should look at “perfect” as a verb, commonly defined as; to polish, hone, burnish, better, refine, brush-up, or fine-tune rather than the noun, flawless or without-fault.
If the situations where we apply soft skills are evolving, we must focus on continuous improvement or development. Reaching a state of flawlessness may be irrelevant if we are pitching a product or service in a market that is constantly changing, or perhaps in management where we handle challenging situations with personnel. What is most important is to practice skills continuously, incorporating experiences and insight learned along the way. Although it’s well known that steady improvement over time leads to significant change, it’s easy to lose sight of this along the way.
As trainers, managers, executives, and even peers, how we play a part in the process of deliberate practice is critical. As Geoff Curless mentions in the video above from a Training Magazine webinar earlier this year, “It’s managers, mentors, peers, everybody coming together to provide feedback, coaching, direction to work on those particular skills and see those improvements over time.”
Successful deliberate practice requires that we all play a part in driving continuous improvement within our organizations.