Driving Lessons

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My 14 year old broke the news to me yesterday. This time next year, she’ll have her driver’s learning permit. Then, she casually mentioned that most of her peers were already “practicing” with their parents. (Hint, hint).

Although she’ll be taking a driver’s education class later this year and have some hands-on learning with a certified driver’s education teacher, she’ll still need lots of practice before I’m she’s ready for the open road.

While I’m preparing myself mentally for our first practice session, my daughter is prepping by reading about driving on Tumblr (oy!). Meanwhile her younger brother is brushing up on his backseat driving jokes and proclaiming his intention of wearing a football helmet when he rides with her—just in case.

Learning to collaborate is a lot like learning to drive a car. You can’t learn by simply being told how (or reading about it). It’s something you have to DO. It’s something you have to practice. And it’s something that takes time to build proficiency.

For my daughter’s first driving lesson, I will take her to a very large, very vacant lot—away from other automobiles and drivers. A place where she’ll have room to get comfortable with the controls and learn from her mistakes in a safe environment.

When learning new collaboration skills, employees can benefit from a similar experience. Allison Michels suggests providing a private space for new users:

“This will help alleviate anxiety and give them a safe place to ‘practice’ before posting to a network with 10,000 people. This way, they can become an expert in private, where you can coach them.”

Like new drivers, employees moving from practice mode to real-world mode will likely be nervous about merging into traffic for the first time. Continue to offer coaching, encouragement, and support as they gain experience and build their confidence.

 Photo credit: Flickr 
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