As I sit down to author my first Blog entry of 2019, I reviewed my recent Blogs. Although I knew I hadn’t Blogged for a while, I wasn’t aware that I had not Blogged since July 2018. I had gotten quite busy in my new role of Manager of the Project Management Office at the University of Manitoba, but I was unaware just how busy I had become. So one of my resolutions for 2019 is to create a new Blog entry every month.
In hindsight, joining the University of Manitoba was one of the best career moves I have ever made. I have grown immensely over the last 2+ years and learned so much from colleagues both within Information Services and Technology and with external units and faculties. I would highly recommend the experience working in Higher Education. The people are brilliant problem solvers and the problems are complicated and have high impact. But that isn’t the reason for this first post of 2019.
Student of the Game
I was fortunate enough to have worked with Red River College during my career and was honoured to be invited to Keynote the BTM Tech mash-up they were putting on. All I had to do was come up with a topic! I talked about options with the organizers and we discussed presenting on how projects are managed at the University of Manitoba and how the work environment is different between Private Companies, Government. Consulting, and Higher Education. I still wanted something to leave with the students in regards to habits and practices of successful team mates. I eventually landed on a Student of the Game summary at the end of the presentation. I remember talking multiple times with Steve Rogalsky on the concept of Student of the Game, We both had felt it described a set of behaviours that were inherent in all the great team mates we had worked with. Even better I was going to connect it with Mark Scheifele for a Winnipeg Jets connection. I think I had a winner!
So what do we refer to when Steve and I mentioned team mates that were “students of the game”? I came across a great article “How to become a Student of the Game” by Anthony Iannarino. In this article, Tony makes the following three excellent points:
- Study the Fundamentals
- The best performers in any endeavor spend a great deal of time studying the fundamentals. They read, study, and practice the basics. The best performers are willing to spend time on the plateaus, plugging away at the basics, even when it feels like they aren’t making any real progress.
- Make Distinctions
- Reading, studying, and practicing are what allow high performers to make distinctions. They start to notice things. They notice things about themselves, and they notice things about others. They start to see how tiny changes produce outsized results.
- Teaching and Learning
- The highest performers seek out teachers. They know that someone who has already had the experiences and made the distinctions can help them understand their own experiences and make their own distinctions. They’re excited about the prospect of someone facilitating their learning.
- These high performers also learn by teaching others. The very act of sharing what you have learned takes your mastery to new levels. It means you have to think deeply about the how, what, and why something works.
I then connected the concept of “Student of the Game” with Mark Scheifele and reviewed how Mark is a great example of being a “Student of the Game”
- Selected 7th overall in 2011 in NHL Entry draft
- Sought out Dale Hawerchuk at 17 to seek advice and counsel
- Added Hall of Famer and skills coach Adam Oates to his off-season workouts
- Attended Gary Roberts Summer Hockey Boot Camps every year for 6 years
- Never swears on the ice – Respect for the Game
I added the connection to Mark Scheifele because of the concept of having Respect for the Game. This is something Tony did not mention but I think is critical for being a Student of the Game. The presentation even allowed me to connect the “Student of the Game” concept to the Agile Principles!
- Continuous Learning
- Find a Mentor or Role Model
- Get on Twitter – follow other experts and read
- Review your work and others to spot opportunities
- Collaborate and Learn from others
- Review others work and practices
- We are smarter than me
- No Ego
- Be respectful of others and their contributions
- Understand that there are always things to learn and get better at
- Be Brave to be wrong
- Help to create a safe space to experiment
All in all, I think this presentation touched all the bases and it was very well received. I encourage you to read Anthony Iannarino’s article and watch a Winnipeg Jets game. GO JETS GO!