Grappling, grumbling and groaning is a given

Grappling, grumbling and groaning is a given

Grappling, grumbling and groaning is a given.

To embed a new skill, people need to grapple with it in the workplace.

Game On’s approach supports the 70/20/10 principle of learning, holding that 70% of the learning should happen experientially in the workplace. As people grapple with the new skill at work, grumbling and groaning is a given.

This year Game On has taken over 1000 agents and 300 leaders through learning journeys. These journeys saw them embark on a knowledge or learning phase, practically apply it and then spend the bulk of the journey embedding the new skills in the workplace through experiential learning.

As we learn, apply and embed a new skill, we go through four phases. First, we grapple, clumsily struggling to make sense of the learning and apply it correctly. Once we’ve grappled and practiced the skill, we can start grooving it, doing it right consistently. As we get our groove on, we start flaring our new skill, applying it in more contexts and more regularly, with greater efficiency. Finally, when we have flaring to perfection, we become so skilled at it that we start flexing, adding our own touch or bending the ball like Beckham.

People aren’t always comfortable in the grappling space. Learning new things or applying different methods require hard work and dedication, willingness and practice. Fear of failure is ever-present. Many people would rather just return to the old way of doing things instead of facing the challenging grappling phase. Some people expect to master skills immediately, aiming to flare and flex without the foundational learning in place.

Our Game On team members have observed and supported hundreds of people grappling with new skills in the workplace. We have seen and heard it all as people respond in their different ways. Some resist the change, some reject the feedback we give them, some grow impatient and despondent, some give up, some give everything. Very few people go through the grappling phase without grumbling and groaning in some form or another.

This was a significant lesson for us: to allow people to go through the grappling process without feeling that we need to rescue, defend or cheerlead them. We learnt instead to expect discomfort during the grappling phase and reassure our learners that their experience is normal and natural. We learnt to motivate them to keep grappling, to provide observation feedback that will help them address key learning areas first, and to keep them going with the end goal in mind.

Grappling is normal and natural. It’s needed in order to master a skill. It’s uncomfortable but worth it. Grumbling and groaning is a precursor to glowing and glory.

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