For the last 10 years, I’ve been trying to master surfing.
Some of you may think that’s a long time to be trying to master something and “geez she can’t be very good!”. Yes, I’m the first to admit that I’m not exactly going at a record pace – but I refuse to give up. I’ll keep going at it for a long time yet, because I get a thrill out of mastering something new. I love that sense of accomplishment that comes from saying “I did that”. Plus, in my mind I’ve only actually failed once I give up. Everything up until now I put down to experience!
Mastery is one of three key elements that goes towards creating our high performing teams at Vita. It is important in all aspects of life, but particularly in working life and especially here at Vita Group, where our team members are encouraged to work towards enhancing their skill sets. I’ve spoken about Purpose before and no doubt I’ll get to chat about Autonomy next, but suffice to say all three components ‘Purpose’, ‘Mastery’ and ‘Autonomy’ are absolutely necessary in building high performing teams!
It’s important to take the time to develop your team members into masters at whatever it is they do. Yes, this may be a risk in that they may choose to leave you once they reach a certain level, but so what? There’s a short story that I always refer to when being challenged around the expense in developing our team members and that is:
CFO says to the CEO, “What if we spend all this time and effort training our employees, and then they leave the company?”. The CEO replies, “Hmmm, you have a point but, what if we don’t and they stay?”
Of course, everyone leaves the business at some stage. Your role is to help them to be the best they can be while they’re with you and to ensure that when they do leave (as they will one day) that they leave with more skills than they came with.
The way in which we develop our Vita peeps into masters varies depending on the team member, as everyone has different personalities, goals, motivations and personal circumstances …but overall, the foundation of what we do is the same for everyone.
Firstly, we pinpoint where they are on their learning pathway, their personal desires for their future careers, their ability to relocate and, importantly, we assess their willingness to learn. Then we identify what tools they can use to better themselves (we have a number of training programs and academies dedicated to coaching but again, that’s a story for another time). Then we guide, coach, mentor and support, to get them to where they need to be.
It’s important to mention here that the most critical factor is; each team member must take responsibility and accountability for their own personal and professional development. We can provide the tools, the guidance and the framework, but the team member has to bring the desire, work ethic and tenacity. After all that’s why there’s the saying:
“The teacher can teach when the student is ready to learn.”
And after all of that; what happens when they get to where they need to be? (We call it ‘Grand Master’ level). Well, that’s when we plot out the next challenge!
Because that’s the thing with Mastery – there’s no real end date (at least that’s what I tell myself as I enter my tenth year of learning how to surf! Lol). You should always be working towards something and looking to enrich yourself with new skills and challenges.
For me at the moment, that’s mastering surfing, and as soon as I do master it, I’ll be looking for my next challenge!
Here’s wishing you all fun in mastering whatever challenge you set yourselves!