Imagine you are standing on the edge of a steep drop off. On the other side of a deep gorge, you can see an apple tree in full bloom. Clearly, you can’t reach the tree just by walking to it — you would fall! But if you want those apples, there is a way to reach them.
Every day we stand on the edge of that cliff and either choose to remain where we are, or we choose to work around the obstacle to get what we want. This is exactly how a learning gap works. You stand in the present on one side, and you can see what you want in the future, but it always seems to be on the other side of a massive valley of challenges.
If you do want to move toward your future goals, there are many ways to get there successfully. Getting there means you must address your specific learning gaps that will build a bridge across that drop and deliver you safely to the apple tree.
Whether you try to build a figurative helicopter or a simple bridge to cross the canyon you face, you’re going to need some know-how to begin. For example, a technician may want to get better average tickets, but they may not know how to. Facing the knowledge gap means pursuing education and instruction on the topics you don’t know enough about. Taking classes, finding materials and asking for help may be the first step to figuring out how to cross the canyon successfully.
Now, if you were standing on that cliff, and you had read every book that existed about building a bridge, you still wouldn’t expect to immediately become a master bridge builder.
Let’s say a technician has learned all the knowledge they can find on how to do their job better. That doesn’t necessarily mean they have the ability to automatically be a master in their industry. The next gap to face is turning knowledge into skill. You have to put the practice into what you have learned so that your skill actually reflects what you know AND what you can do consistently.
Next, you have to make sure that your motivation is solid. You know how to build a bridge and you’re confident you can do so when the time comes. Will your motivation to reach that apple tree waver? You can’t get to the middle of building a bridge and lose your desire to reach the other side. Remember to keep your focus on what you really want in the future so that you can keep pushing until you reach your goals.
So, you have the knowledge, you have the skill and you’re motivated to reach the apple tree. However, you start thinking that building an entire bridge by yourself is going to be long and difficult. This is when you turn to your support system — both professional and personal. The other people in your life are great resources to help you build that bridge to your goals. You need to be able to communicate your vision with your support system effectively in order to receive help in your endeavors.
It’s also important to use communication to assess the culture you are a part of. Is your leadership providing training to give you an opportunity to grow? Can you find an outside source to fill in that gap instead?
At any point in your career, any one of these gaps can begin to drain. You might need to learn a new version of your software, you might feel tired and exhausted with your job, you might not know how to communicate with your team — the key is to constantly remind yourself what it takes to get to the apple tree. Never assume one of the gaps has been filled forever. Always ask yourself which gap you are facing that is hindering your growth. How can you move past that obstacle?
No matter what gap you or your team are facing, our coaches have tips and solutions to keep building your bridge. Whether it’s training, attitude, culture or any other concern you have, we know how to address it and give you the tools you need to get across the canyon. If you don’t believe us, just visit our website and see how many resources are available to you! Give us a shout if you ever want to talk about it!
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