If you don’t practice, you don’t deserve to win.
Practice. Practice. Practice. It’s definitely been a theme in my life. I learned it was important early on, both from my successes and failures. In the military, we practiced (or drilled) every single thing that we did over and over until it was second nature. When I do work in the film industry, we will rehearse scenes and practice until it’s just right. A typical 10 hr day will give you about 2-5 minutes of actual footage. Practicing is important. Your guests expect your best and practicing is the only way to improve without ruining the experience for the customer.
Practice in front of others.
You don’t want to use your main client as your training stage. You want to give them your best experience. Practice behind the scenes or during downtime with your team. It may feel weird sometimes, but if a person is not comfortable rehearsing in front of their boss or peers, you can be sure that they won’t be ready to execute the tasks with both excellence and ease in front of their real audience. I have my teams role-play with each other every day that they work. This keeps them sharp and lets them make mistakes and learn in a low-risk environment. Find fun and engaging ways to practice to break up the monotony and to keep them engaged on a continual basis.
What to look for when you practice.
We gravitate towards the negative when we practice. You’ve probably seen videos of coaches getting in the faces of players during practice. Don’t forget to praise and single out the right things as well. It solidifies that they are making progress and builds their confidence towards excellence. Also look to add in the oddities and unusual circumstances from time to time. If you collect customer surveys or comments, use the negative ones (even if they weren’t from your group) to role-play scenarios on how you would handle the situation. This will prepare them for when those challenging times arise. Let your team be active participants in rehearsals and add in their own voice. You don’t want a bunch of robots, but rather people you are prepared well with their own personality.
The consequences of skipping practice.
The consequences vary, but nothing ever good comes out of skipping practice. I ran a 24 hr race this last year with only a single 6 mile run as preparation. The result? A 52.5 mile race (double marathon) that absolutely wrecked my body. I made it through it, but it was not graceful and it was not without injury. I also play music and it becomes glaringly obvious who did not practice their part. The consequence is that the whole group suffers and the audience does not get the experience that they were expecting. Your clients will see very quickly who has not taken the time to practice and rehearse their roles and will choose to go somewhere else.
Build training, practice, and rehearsals into your culture. Depending on your industry, it could save a life or at the least save a customer.
Make a better tomorrow.