Wax On, Wax Off – How Training Can Impact Your Team’s Work
I practice Muay Thai. And you might ask: ‘Okay, but what does that have to do with training for developers?’
Well, a lot of things, actually.
Martial arts require discipline, focus, patience and a lot of work. Not only you get stronger and look extremely cool doing it, but you eventually get the taste of excelling at something and learning new skills. Their inherited philosophy is that you can always do better and accomplish more.
In a fast paced environment, like the software development industry, it’s important to remain curious and focused on learning more and doing better. Not only can you can improve what you already know, but also, there’s always the chance to master different skills and stay competitive.
Here’s some analogies to motivate you in order to consider implementing training sessions in your company with a good amount of puns:
Apply What You Learn
Humans are particularly good at forgetting stuff – if you’ve been to college, you know what I’m talking about. We don’t retain information that we don’t use.
In martial arts this translates to self defense – besides training, you become able to defend yourself (hopefully) successfully if you ever get involved in a physical confrontation, meaning that you’re able to use your skills in an unexpected situation.
The same thing happens when companies allow and suggest employees to hold training sessions: they want to learn and then apply, get feedback and repeat the cycle. Encourage them to go for a set of skills that are helpful in their daily tasks or take them to more challenging levels when a new project pops up, or even, if they want to work on a personal idea or share their knowledge with co-workers.
Get A Training Buddy
It’s easier when we don’t have to do things all by ourselves (unless you’re a self proclaimed introvert). If your company encourages employees to work in group or develop a side project, why not suggest them to take a look around and check if there’s someone interested in joining in? Either they’re trying to excel at a new coding language or create their very own app. It’s a lot more exciting than ‘kicking the sandbag’ by themselves!
It Makes Everyone Feel Good
When it comes to IT companies, the elephant in the room is (*drumrolls*) the turnover.
Conducted interviews show that a work culture that encourages continuous training and learning in the workplace will prevent top talent from walking out the door.
And needless to say, a skilled workforce enhances customer loyalty, and since behind every aspect of a company’s creations and services are its employees, so keep them curious and sharp.
Everyone Has Their Own Pace
You might learn this the hard way but while martial art trainings have specific days and hours to happen, at work the situation can be different.
Implementing a strict training schedule can be limiting, especially if the team needs to rush a project or a ticket.
Discuss what makes sense for them: a freestyle schedule or a fixed day and hour? Group or individual training? Every case is a case.
Still, consistency is key. If I miss a couple of Muay Thai practices, I’m very well aware that I’ll suffer the next time I step on the tatami. We have to be enthusiastic about learning something new and push through it. We know there’s a lot that can get in the way, but if everyone involved manages to be organised, set a day to dedicate an hour or two to training (depending on what type of agreement the company offers).
Mr. Miyagi Approves!
A highly motivated and focused team will always successfully evolve and bring the company along with them. As Mr. Miyagi would say ‘You trust the quality of what you know, not quantity’.
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