I caught up yesterday with a former BBC and Microsoft colleague Mark Bloodworth. Outside of his working life Mark does a lot of football coaching, and has been trained to train, as it were. Often our conversations will bounce between how his sports coaching has changed his ways of thinking about work and working with others.

Yesterday our conversation got to an interesting point. For professional sports people and musicians, practice is often the bulk of their day-to-day working life. Refining performances so that “on the day” things go as right as possible. Yet in the workplace more generally, we’re expected to be on match day or concert hall levels of performance all of the time. Whilst there is some “learning and development” on offer to many of us, the move in recent years has increasingly been to “on the job” learning (which often practically means “just get on with it”).

Why this discrepancy? Are all of the rest of our jobs so much easier that footballers or musicians? Or would our performance improve if we allowed ourselves more time and space to practise the skills and techniques that we need to be able to be able to deliver when it matters?

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