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Highlights from our #creativehuddle on deliberate practice


We hold a regular #creativehuddle Twitter chat each Tuesday from 12-1pm UK time. Our #creativehuddle on Tuesday 17th November focused on the idea of deliberate practice at work, and we asked participants how often they get the chance to practice something work-related. Read a summary of some of the highlights here:

Educator and creative leadership specialist David Culberhouse provided a number of key insights:

  • “Leaders who understand the benefits of play, white space, and creativity…create environments where innovation can flourish”
  • “Practice should provide some space for serendipity”
  • “Practice is a bit of reflection, refinement, improvement…as well as being stretched”
  • “We need more of a ‘bets’ mindset. Focus more on progress than just ‘done’ or ‘not done’. Growth is a journey, not a destination”
  • “I find a lot of practice to be mental…allowing ideas to incubate and percolate in mental scenarios and rehearsal”
  • “We practice sports, but we don’t practice leadership. You have to intentionally find spaces to try things out”

Sport psychologist Richard Collins suggested that “effective practice for pressure includes being ‘evaluated’ [and] having some reward system and potential for unexpected events”. Richard suggested that “you could give your practice audience permission to interrupt, challenge or distract” to help prepare you more fully for the real thing, and pointed out that “practice doesn’t have to be physical either, it can be rhetorical”.

L&D specialist Teresa Rose highlighted specific types of practice in the area of personal health such as ‘centering’ and ‘sitting quietly’, and L&D manager Kim George noted that “practicing yoga at work helped with focus”.

Some useful examples of what regular practice at work also emerged. Alistair Cockroft showed how e-Learning software company Articulate use weekly challenges, and James Allen drew attention to the use of One Minute Briefs as a form of practice in the world of advertising.

Sukh Pabial gave a great example of a Formula 1 pit crew as a high-performing team for whom regular practice is both necessary and has a clear purpose. This raised the interesting question of whether an office-based work team could practice ‘being a better team’. However learning strategist David James also pointed out that “The business/sport analogy [for practice] is limited. Business rarely rewards great do-ers, they stay doing…”. And Sukh also noted that in organisations “the equivalent of the coaches and managers get rewarded, not the individuals”.

The conversation also highlighted aspects of practice at work that were problematic. Product designer Nick Gray observed that “Often employment is seen as [based on] known/established skillsets… the approach of requiring ‘practice’ sits uncomfortably with management”.

What are your thoughts on practice at work? We’d love to hear from you. Join the conversation on our LinkedIn group, and come along to our weekly #creativehuddle every Tuesday between 12-1pm.

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