Deliberate Practice: 5 Steps to Improve Your Skills Continuously

All growth requires change. “The two choices that changed my life were choosing to become a virtuoso and to practice like a virtuoso. And by the way, anyone can choose to become a virtuoso.”—Mike Rayburn Jazz musicians have to be on the same page when they perform. In the beginning, they spend time discussing their […]

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All growth requires change.

“The two choices that changed my life were choosing to become a virtuoso and to practice like a virtuoso. And by the way, anyone can choose to become a virtuoso.”

—Mike Rayburn

Jazz musicians have to be on the same page when they perform. In the beginning, they spend time discussing their approach to how they will interpret the song for their performance. Others may play the same song with a different interpretation, and that is the beauty of jazz. This level of performance and interpretation requires deliberate practice.

As Mike Rayburn is often quoted, “you have to practice deliberately to get better and become a virtuoso.”

5 steps to developing an agile mindset to improve your skills continuously:

1. Remain vigilant and do your homework on trends, new developments, and your industry’s value chain. What processes are being automated that will make you obsolete? What positions are being cannibalized by new technical developments or mobile applications? What roles are shipped to a global supply chain offshore? Are you prepared to move to where the value is as internal and external pressures modify the value chain?

2. Visualize yourself growing and mastering your skills. All virtuoso musicians and world-class athletes visualize. They do it because it works.

3. Get comfortable being uncomfortable. When you stretch yourselves to develop and move your skills to a new level, you will be uncomfortable, and growth requires stretching and doing something you are not familiar with. All growth requires change.

4. Take ownership of your skill development journey. To many of us who are waiting for our organizations to provide the necessary training and professional development, we will need to remain current. Although in the past, this was a great job benefit, it is no longer. We have to take 100 percent responsibility for our personal growth. Jazz musicians are responsible for their skill improvement, and everyone who plays understands that they are responsible.

5. Develop a love for lifelong learning, and do it for the value it will add to your life and not only an increase in pay. When you love what you do and want to get better, you will work harder than you ever

have, and you will love it because you are internally motivated by your desire for mastery.

To successfully change, the agile team must develop the skills to communicate effectively. Understanding the power of intentional conversations and the neuroscience of conversations intelligence can lay the foundation for creating positive transformational culture changes that work.

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