Just before 2020 year end I lost my (man’s) best friend. Chile the beautiful working sheepdog in the photo.
We had sixteen amazing years together. Half spent competing in Working Trials, which is the most challenging dog sport in the UK. It’s like training a Police, or Armed Forces, dog.
We started practicing when Chile was 18 months old. My dog handling coach commented that it was like watching a learner driver with a Ferrari. (I was the learner.) Over time things improved.
Lots of practice. More practice. And even more Practice. Which brings me to the topic of this briefing.
Over the holiday period I read Seth Godin’s new book The Practice. It’s a good book. One section (16) grabbed me, where he talks about The Process and The Outcome.
“The practice … It’s a commitment to a process, not simply the next outcome on the list. We do this work for a reason, but if we triangulate the work we do and focus only on the immediate outcome, our practice will fall apart.”
In other words The Practice creates progress toward The Outcome.
Chile and I spent 7 hours a week practicing the various aspects of the sport. Then put ourselves up to be judged in a Working Trial.
The Trials are tough and we often failed. Then I’d complete an After Action Review, and decide what to change for next time. Then do The Practice for that.
I’ve applied this type of approach – The Practice – to everything I’ve wanted to master over the years … Programming (Coding). Analysing Systems. Selling. Leading. Dog handling. Facilitating groups. Coaching.
Here’s some Field Work you might consider:
- Figure out some aspect of consulting, or selling, you’d like to improve. For example, three habits you might choose.
- Look back over the last few months and figure out how much time you’ve spent practicing this.
- Check your commitment to the improvement. How much time are you prepared to invest?
- Describe the level of performance you’d be satisfied to achieve. A role model might be useful here.
- Look at the gap between where you are today and where you want to get to.
- Decide the first thing you need to practice. Make this a small-chunk*.
- Practice. Practice. Practice. Then test in client situation.
Please let me know how you get on.
* The first thing Chile and I learnt together was heel-work. The small-chunk practice was my timing for her reward signal for getting her position right. It took us 3-months to get this right.