In May of 2016 we discussed the topic of Mastery and received fantastic feedback, so let’s revisit the idea of Mastery.

Many business owners start with a great idea that will change the world and, through time and effort, they will evolve personally and professionally to be the best in their field. Though you might not think of it these terms, but what they’re doing, what they’re actually reaching for, is “mastery”.

You know this, because you work day and night, you have put in the hours of work, training, research, and sweat. I don’t have to tell you that becoming the master of business requires hard work. Malcom Gladwell would tell you that it takes 10,000 hours of “deliberate practice” to master a skill.

Imagine watching the best Formula One driver, or the most incredible ballerina. They make their chosen trade look so easy, and accessible. It is only when you attempt to duplicate the complex beauty of the Dance of Sugar Plum Fairy (reported to be one of the most difficult roles to dance), or harness the 1000 horsepower around a turn pulling 3 G’s in a Formula-1 car, you realize that just because something looks easy doesn’t mean it is.

And that may be true for something like ballet or the violin where the skill is quantifiable. Becoming a master in your field of business, however it’s much more than “time in” on any endeavour.

As I look around there are any number of businesses supplying goods and services to their customers in any number of industries. What separates the successful from those who have become a master at their industry is a gritty combination of discipline, hard work, humility and generosity. Most of us would agree with the first three, but generosity?

There’s an old adage, “if you want to learn something well, teach it to someone else”. In order to teach well, it requires that you face your presuppositions about things, unearth those ideas that you didn’t even realize you believe. Being the master of any subject (even one that you invented) requires you to be able to objectively look at whatever you’re doing and seeing ways it can be improved. To teach someone else what you know requires a certain generosity. After so many years of defending your own turf, that can be difficult, but that generosity has the reward of unearthing flaws in your system in order to improve them, and you cannot master what you think is perfect.

Now expanding on the generosity of teaching and of talent development, you gain the opportunity to:

1. Invest: You are investing time leading to growth as an organization and investing in another person. How great is that?! Can you imagine if Bill Gates just did it all himself without bringing in a team? Bringing in others to be a part of your team grows your business.
2. Discover Improvements: By letting other’s in on your system of doing things and teaching them how to do what you do they may discover and share new ideas and improvements you had not initially thought of.
3. Trust and Grow: By trusting your team to deliver, instead of always just yourself, you free your time to do more and expand.

A colleague told me that for over four years she did it all herself including running the business, doing the client work, the marketing, advertising, you name it. At one point she had brought in someone to help grow the business but did not take the time to teach what she knew and did not show the trust she could have in this person. Instead she just gave odd jobs to them. As a result, there was no growth, no one learned and, in the end, she had to let the person go and close up shop. She couldn’t keep it up with the demand on her own and this may have been different had she took the time to teach and allowed the trust to let go and share.

So be generous, develop your talent base and grow!

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