''TheWakko says'' - Edition 13

Aug 12 / TheWakko
Reading time 2-3 minutes
I reflect a lot. When I say “a lot”, really do understand that I mean a lot, I’m hardly ever on auto-pilot, these unconscious moments are only when I know everything in my path is clear for execution.

As a poker player, we’re quite accustomed to warm up and cool down sessions, as well as meditation and game review sessions, with this, I have recently increased my awareness on how valuable these moments are for gathering lessons learned, and consequently, improving.

Now, I’m not an anthropologist to dip deep in what is core for evolution of our species, but I can say what has worked immensely for my own improvement, so with this article I’ll do my best to provide you with some quick tools. 

My angle for this article is quite simple: Imagine if we (as human beings) had no way of restoring knowledge anywhere (so that the next generation can pick up where we left off), how would we improve? Therefore, where and what is your knowledge “deposit”? How are you gathering your lessons learned?

The logic is quite simple, imagine that for everything you do, you had to start from scratch. If we’re talking about a simple task, that’s not an issue. However, if it is something that requires deep expertise and several trial and error events to have it reach its final point, we wouldn’t be doing very well starting from scratch, would we?

As a simple example, picture the difference between a programming class in 1990 and a programming class today. There, I’m sure you get the idea.

Now, lessons learned is placed at the end of a process, let me give you an example that our CEO provided of this in project management terms:

- Initiate: you start aligning the ideas of a goal you’re trying to reach;
- Planning: you plan to reach your defined/aligned goal;
- Execution: you execute what you planned;
- Monitoring & Controlling: you measure the progress of what you executed against what you planned, check for possible deviations and if any adjustments are needed;
- Closing: end the process/project. Final reflections and gather lessons learned so that the next time you have something similar, you’re able to improve, or as mentioned, the next person won’t have the same struggle you had.

So now you see where lessons learned can be “formally” placed, but I don’t intend to make it that fixed/rigid or complicated. What I want is for you to implement in your routine the following:

Choose/standardize some reflection moments in your routine, as an example, post-game sessions, answer two simple questions: 1 – What went well? / 2 – What could be improved? Write these answers down in an organized place, so it can serve as a knowledge deposit, call it “Lessons Learned” document.

That right there is very simple and straightforward, so simple you might neglect its importance. However, pay attention to what I said about moments that require “deep expertise and several trial and error events”. This will end up having a compound effect in your career.

Also, let’s assume you are like every other human being on this planet today, meaning, swamped with information overload and constantly getting distracted by a billion things trying to fight for your attention. Having to remember everything instead of writing it down is another hassle your brain does not need

Lastly, linking it back to what I said about improvement: a knowledge deposit, a lessons learned document will serve as a slap in the face for your repetitive errors. Of course, that is unless you manage to be a very self-evolved and unique individual that learns straight away from your mistakes. Therefore, this document will serve as evidence on your improvement points, and we all act more confident when we have substantial evidence.

Apparently I’m misquoting Einstein here but I really like the quote that says: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.

Can I say that lessons learned is a good way to avoid insanity? This article could have been much longer, more complex and on a larger scale.

There it is, another quick tip/tool for you to improve your game. Have a great week everyone!

 Rene Kuhlman - TheWakko

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