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You don’t really know something until you have practiced it!

A some time ago someone asked me: if you look back a couple of years, which insights do you wish you would have had then as business leader and a coach? This post is the first one in a series where I am sharing some examples.

When I was young, the entire educational system in Germany was geared towards accumulating knowledge without having any idea if it would be relevant to you at any time in the future. There was little focus on the wider applicability of what was taught and therefore no “real life” practice took place. Needless to say, most of what you were supposed to have learned got lost on the way and in retrospect it looks like valuable time was lost. It is the practice and the outcomes that create references that we will memorize. It is the emotions that we feel when we practice that make us assign a meaning. 

What conclusions can we draw from this? 

Whenever you sign up for a course for example, check the references of the person who is teaching the course to make sure he or she is practicing what they are preaching, and it is not a theoretical exercise. I work as a business and leadership coach and just accepted a position as interim manager at an international IT company for the next 9 months. I am very grateful for this opportunity to practice.

Similarly, when you are making changes in your life, some of your friends will offer their advice. Unless they have mastered a situation which is similar to your’s, I would not listen to them, specifically not if their feedback is negative. Don’t allow others to destroy your dreams out of jealousy!

I am also wondering about business schools. Have all these professors actually practiced what they are teaching? Therefore, I love to talk to business leaders with a proven track record. I have been working for over 40 years in the IT industry for subsidiaries of American companies and love to share the learnings I have made along the way.

They say: “Knowledge is Power”, but it is the practice of that knowledge that makes it powerful, otherwise it just ends up on the shelf. 

I am very interested in your feedback. What were your most impactful learnings so far and how did they come about? Who are the people who helped you along the way?

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