Positive Outliers

Are we developing our critical skills the right way?

When I began writing Leading Yourself, the working title I started with was “The Soul of Personal Mastery.” ‘Personal Mastery’ is a term much-loved in leadership academies, so I explored the idea of mastery. ‘Mastery’ has some negative connotations, so I backed off from it as the central label and moved to the concept of self-leadership.

However, my research returned me to the Dreyfus Model of Skill Acquisition, something that was referenced by the APM’s L&D team at one of their training providers’ away days. It appears that we may be investing in the wrong kind of learning solutions for some skill levels, and perhaps under-emphasising other kinds of solutions.

I’ve just uploaded this video on the Dreyfus Skill Acquisition Model and how it can be applied to any skill.

The illustration I use is the skill of riding a bicycle, and how that develops. I remember a dear friend and colleague, Eddie Borup, explaining the “wobbly bike scale” to me years ago. It all now fits. (I’m a slow learner.)

However, the traditional emphasis on face-to-face classroom training is now wearing thin. Classroom training is great for moving novices to advanced practitioners, and even moving advanced practitioners to proficiency. I and my colleagues love the energizing experience of the live classroom. But is it always the right solution?

Is information-based classroom training always the right solution for developing key skills?

I believe we are under-valuing other less obvious but powerful solutions. Also, organizations set their expectations so low that all they see in terms of skill are levels two and three. Experts and masters are too hard to find.

Question: What is your experience of learning solutions or training you have received that really challenges you to greater skill levels?

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