In nearly fourteen years of inventing practice for workplace learning, we’ve always said that practice changes behavior. If you’ve had a chance to try out a new and challenging approach to a workplace situation, you’re more likely to remember it when you really need it on the job. And remembering is the first step to doing.
But lately we’ve been realizing that practice also changes attitudes. And that may be the most important element in creating real, long-lasting improvement.
Say there’s a situation that you feel you have difficulty dealing with — for example, having to deliver bad news to your team, your employee, or your boss. Getting good advice on how to handle it can be valuable information, but often you think, “Oh, I couldn’t do that.” (Perhaps if you thought you could, you would have done it already!)
Getting a chance to try out the new approach in a low-risk environment lets you see how really feels for you. And that can be surprising.
We hear people say things like, “Oh, that wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be.” Or as unpleasant. Or as strange.
When you practice a new behavior, the experience can change your attitude. Instead of thinking “That’s not me,” you may find yourself thinking, “Of course I can do that.” And so a new solution jumps out of theory and into your life.