Yogi Berra said lots of funny, mixed up quotes. “You can’t think and hit a baseball at the same time” was one of my favorites. It sounds strange, but makes sense when you put it in the context of learning. Professional baseball players practice and drill so that instincts take over in the millisecond they have for deciding whether to swing the bat.
I thought of Yogi Berra this weekend while participating in a leadership conference. The theme involved embracing the formula for personal growth. The facilitator took us through several drills on how to learn more from ourselves and others and how to learn faster. The growth formula has four components and they work sequentially.
Personal growth starts with experience, then new knowledge, then reflection, then time. Here’s a small example:
Like most of us today, I spend hours on e-mail and the internet. I have plenty of experience with Outlook. I joined six managers recently for a 30-minute workshop on Outlook. I gained new knowledge on how to use folders, archive and retrieve files and add a contact to my address book. After reflecting on this new process, my time management and speed of learning improved.
Now I can navigate around my files faster and more effectively. Like Yogi, most of my typing, opening and closing of folders and windows are done without thinking.
You will be surprised what can be learned and taught. Time management is not position specific. I’ve heard of brand new associates showing seasoned education managers how to improve PowerPoint presentations.
We learn through experience. Reading, watching, and interacting are forms of experience. We gain knowledge, reflect on the subject and over time - we don’t have to think. We can just swing the bat and perhaps hit a home run.