Try writing your name with your non-dominant hand.
It is likely sloppy, barely legible, and significantly larger than your normal script.
Now write your name with your dominant hand. Feels normal, looks clean, and requires almost no thought. You have practiced this skill thousands of times and have become the master of your own name.
I recently started volunteering at my son’s school teaching Junior Achievement. The program focuses on work readiness, financial literacy and entrepreneurship. Last session we talked about skills and training. I asked them to perform the above mentioned handwriting activity. The results were as expected. They were then sent home for the week to train their non-dominant hand to write neater.
All of the children that followed direction and practiced the exercise had improved (some more than others) the quality of their writing. Those that did not still wrote large, indecipherable words.
Two things became apparent during this experiment.
Even when a person is not predisposed to success in a certain skill, practice results in some level improvement.
Practice might not make perfect, but it certainly improves upon a skill and allows for confidence. When you look at your workforce you will likely have people that naturally excel in one skill, yet struggle in another. Not every builder can be a service writer, nor will they learn without the chance to do so. Allow team members to express interest in other areas of your business and support growth and development.
Years ago, Noah (CEO of ETE Reman), said to me, “You are a much better writer than a speaker”. The feedback stung a bit however it made me aware and gave me the desire to get better. I may only be practicing speaking in front of fifth graders but I feel more confident, and only trip over words occasionally now.
I am a writer, not a speaker, but with practice I suck less.
If they want to, they will.
Eighteen out of twenty-one kids did as I directed. I am not a teacher to these students, I am not a teacher at all. There was no grade associated with the activity. They simply complied because they wanted to.
Building a team with people that want to commit to new ideas, training, and improvement will lead to efficiency, progress and innovation.
Those who have no desire, or willingness to participate in growth and development opportunities will remain stagnant. While they may serve their purpose as part of the team, their position is unchangeable, until your business no longer requires that service. Once that happens they have allowed themselves to become expendable as transitioning them to a new position is likely to fail.
As a leader make sure the right people are in the right seat, but be open and allow for developing interests. You never know if the next top sales guy (or gal) is hanging out at the bench.
Next week I will check the skills of the non-dominant hand writers. I expect to see more improvement, and maybe even some new participants. While none of these children are going to be recruited as the next Mickey Mantle, their left-hand game (they were all righty’s) has gotten a little more competitive.