PRACTICE MAKES EXPERIENCE

JV Wong - jvwong@peopleignite.com



One of my best life decisions was to shift from Bachelor of Philosophy to Bachelor of Arts Major in Organizational Communication (AB-OCM) for my college degree. I had wanted to become a lawyer (hence, the original intention to finish Philosophy). Through twists and turns, however, I ended up finishing and loving AB-OCM. I felt that this degree would give me the knowledge I need to know about intricacies on organizations, and at the same time, teach me aspects on Internet, innovation and corporate media.

I recall going through subjects like MANACOM (Management Communication), ORGADEV (Organizational Change and Development), CORCULT (Corporate Culture), POLICOM (Political Communication), and PUBLIRE (Public Relations) among others. With the help of considerate, strict, traditional and creative professors, I was building my knowledge base about the corporate world and what I needed to prepare for when I would start work back in the ‘90s. After 3 and half years, I belonged to the 3rd batch of graduates to finish this course at the De La Salle University, Manila.

I am grateful for my college life’s twists and turns: the knowledge I gained from books, simulation exercises and challenging thesis defense led me to inevitably PRACTICE what I learned back in school and in my formal trainings later in life. Today, my consulting career in the Learning and Development practice among HR practitioners and business leaders strongly give me exposure, insights, and experiences. Books and formal lessons are good, but ultimately, we need to translate what we always learn, into PRACTICE. “PRACTICE MAKES EXPERIENCE.”

You might have heard of the 70-20-10 Model of Blended Learning Model, which is often credited to Morgan McCall and his colleagues in Center for Creative Leadership (CCL). In simple terms: The holistic growth of a professional comes from 70%, on-the-job training or tough jobs, 20%, supervision from the immediate supervisor, and 10%, from formal and classroom-type trainings. If a person would attend a 2-day training program, example, Store Merchandising 101 or Customer Experience, this is only 10% of his/her professional’s growth. He/She has to bring the learning back to work (70%) and share them with his/her immediate supervisor and even with colleagues (20%).

Many leaders would cut the budget of training, primarily because they think that training and learning-related activities are “costs” for the company. This scenario is common in many enterprises. What we need to remember is this: Even if training and learning-related activities contribute “only” 10% in the learning model, these are potent and imperative “triggers” for competencies. On one hand, the blended learning would be incomplete without the infusion of training interventions. On the other hand, if after training, there would be NO practice or reinforcement of the learning, then the formula has become incomplete once more.

This is where the concept of Workplace Learning and Performance (WLP) comes in: WLP is about practicing at work what we are learning through training. WLP is about bringing the training theories, workshops, self-assessment results, role plays, and even teambuilding memories to our workplace so that we can perform better and become business contributors. The WLP Professional possesses the mindset of wanting to continuously discover his/her talents, motivations, and potential through learning touchpoints. He/She is genuinely driven to shine bright in the workplace. How can we practice by experience?Here are some tips you can bring with you.

1. CREATE LEARNING AGREEMENTS for training investments.

  • Thank you to our client adidas, we learned to introduce Learning Agreements to our training participants. A Learning Agreement is a 1-page agreement to be signed by the training attendee, literally at the end of the training session. This consists of: a) What are top 3 things I learned, b) What are areas I need to work on, and c) What are my next steps from here. The Learning Agreement has already been signed by the Immediate Supervisor, prior to having the training attendee sign it!


2. CREATE A 1-ON-1 SCHEDULE with your boss, or vice versa.

  • Once the Learning Agreement has been signed, this document is gathered by your Learning and Development (L&D, or training) officer. With the help of your L&D officer, both the training attendee and his/her Immediate Supervisor should have a scheduled 1-on-1, primarily to discuss the content in the Learning Agreement. This is also a good time to “catch up” on areas which the employee would need help on. Believe me, this is a good start towards building WLP-centered teams.


3. PLOT TARGET MILESTONES OF GROWTH.

  • But Wait! There’s more! After the 1-on-1 meeting between the training attendee and the Immediate Supervisor, both of them would monitor certain milestones: Are we doing what we agreed to do? Are we meeting what we aspire to achieve?


4. CELEBRATE SMALL SUCCESSES.

  • It would be awesome if the training attendee or the employee and his/her Immediately Supervisor would celebrate small victories. They can have a coffee chat, or another 1-on-1 and discuss “small successes” that matter.


As I end this article, let me share with you a favorite quote: LIFE IS SHORT. DO THINGS THAT MATTER. In life and in work, it’s best that whatever we plan to do, it should matter to us, to the people around us, and to the organization we serve. Practice does not make perfect. Practice makes GREAT experiences – experiences that matter most.

"Anyone who hears my words and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. Anyone who hears my words but does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sandy ground. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against his house, and it fell with a great crash." Matthew 7:24-27