The martial artist practices their form, their kata, thousands of times. They rehearse each movement, perfecting it, combining it with the next movement until it flows perfectly. When they’re not practicing their kata, they practice each of the individual movements over and over again until it becomes second nature. The martial artist also spars and practices their art under scenarios that closely match the conditions they’ll face if they’re ever called upon to use their skills to defend themselves or others.
The reason for so much repetition, so much deliberate practice, is that the right response no longer requires thought; it’s build into their reflexes. The martial artist no longer needs to think about what to do because the response is built into their nervous system. This saves time and reduces the likelihood that they are injured. They don’t overreact or under-react. They respond appropriately.
Business As an Art
In business, we generally don’t spend much time practicing. We don’t practice dealing with the every day scenarios where business is won and lost, where clients hearts and minds are won—or lost. We don’t develop the language choices that demonstrate how much we care about people, opting instead for transactional approaches that save time and money at the cost of relationships.
As a leader, you need to take your team off the field to rehearse, to practice. You need to help your team develop a set of responses that start by demonstrating that you care deeply about the people you have the pleasure to serve. You need to abandon the transactional for a more appropriate set of responses, and you need your team to rehearse those responses. In the moment of truth, when people are under stress and challenged, you want the default response to generate the right outcome.
How much time do you spend rehearsing for the most important interactions you have with your clients?
Are you more confident when you have an idea about how to achieve the right outcome from difficult interactions?
As a leader, do you take your team off the field for deliberate practice and rehearsal?
As an individual contributor, do you practice or rehearse for important conversations?