The following notes are a summary of the rich conversation that took place at the Mad Rooster Café (Milwaukee, WI) on April 23, 2015. Notes do not come near to matching the subtle nuance of face-to-face conversation.
The idea of a practice field is not new to most people but it also has a fairly narrow point of reference for most of us. Athletes, musicians, and actors regularly practice their skills in a variety of settings. Even though the pre-season doesn’t count toward the championship, those practice field experiences can be just as competitive as the regular season.
The focus this month was on the practice field experiences we create for others. The conversation on practice field experiences included the value and scope of such experiences. Tim Behling illuminated the value of practice situations by characterizing the fast paced environments we sometimes find ourselves in as like trying to change your tire while you’re driving.
In regard to our own practices:
- Among the reasons for challenging ourselves are moving beyond our own comfort zones and mastering skills.
- The setting for our learning is not near as important as the level of engagement. Journaling, reflecting with others and just hanging out with others can all be useful practices – “I learn as much about sailing in the bar at SSYC as I do on the boat.”
In regard to creating practice field experiences for others:
- When people gather around a shared interest they learn together.
- We can be very intentional and deliberate in creating and nurturing practice fields.
- Make sure the learning process is relevant to the group or individual’s personal needs.
- Allowing the team to decide the focus of practice field environments can be an effective strategy in cultivating engagement and effective teamwork.
- Challenge people to get out of their comfort zone.
Ideas and examples of practice fields:
- Affinity Groups – People like to come together around a shared interest. People then develop relationships in those affinity groups and they learn together.
- Meet ups are fascinating. Yvonne started a meet up focused around Toastmasters International. It is becoming quite popular. (http://www.meetup.com/)
- Tim created a hot topic list using a discussion board in his workplace. He uses it as a place for his team to learn from each other and work through situations.
- There are CEO Roundtable groups leaders can join.
- Our Servant-Leader roundtables are a practice field. This is an environment that allows us to practice, make mistakes, and get ideas.