Train as You Work, or Work as You Train?

I’m an athlete. I used to apply my athletic abilities on the court, on the field, and in the gym. Today I live out my athletic expertise inside businesses, working with executives and their teams.

If you’ve ever been on a sports team, you probably remember your coach saying, “Practice like you play!” You knew that meant that when you practice you need to do it as if you were playing a real game.

For business purposes, I want to turn this idea upside down. What if we were to play like we practiced instead of practicing like we played?

Practice Doesn’t Count

Who cares about being good in practice? Practice, in the business world, means learning the “what” and the “how” of leading others. The gap is that we don’t work as we train. More training alone won’t necessarily make us a better leader. Training provides us with awareness, and in business I think we sometimes have too much training. Now, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t keep learning and growing. But what I am saying is that once we’ve gained the knowledge, the next step isn’t to gain more knowledge. The next step is to move from awareness to action. That’s when we get an ROI on our training.

A good motivator for action is to think as if your day was being recorded for a training class. Would you do a good job illustrating how to properly coach your colleague, and if not, is it really because you don’t know what to do or is it that you just chose not do it?

You see the magic isn’t to train as you would work but it’s to work as you would train.

Train as you work puts more attention in time and money on more training. While I believe in training and make my living doing a lot of it, I believe it plays a small part for true change and development. It’s what happens after training that is crucial.

Work as you would train puts more attention in time and money on our actions and keeps us focused on making “living it out” and impacting others a way of life.

So while you’re at work this week, work as if you were in training. Work as if I were recording your day for a training class. Could I use your actions at work as training for someone else’s awareness of good leadership?


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