Learning from the Best: What Athletes and Musicians Teach Us About Workplace Training

Growing up, my mom always had my siblings and I say two nice things for every mean thing we said. It was beyond annoying, but now that I’m older, I’m convinced that this parenting decision has made positivity my default MO. And I’m super thankful for that.

In the spirit of my mom’s two nice things for every negative thing philosophy, I’ve got some thoughts on traditional workplace training. Here we go:

Workplace training can be brutal. Like, truly terrible. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard anyone talk about  super engaging workplace safety training or an incredible experience earning their professional safety certifications. I can come up with hundreds of examples of training and development programs for employees that are lackluster and leave people feeling like their time was wasted.

Alright, now that we’ve got that negativity out of the way, here’s the good news:

  1. Lessonly is changing that. We’ve watched thoughtfully-built training empower people to be exceptional at their jobs. Turns out, training can be both informative and engaging. 
  2. One of the best ways to create better training is to start by looking at the best-trained people in the world. The ones who literally practice and train like it’s their jobs like athletes and musicians. Their habits are inspiring to us, and we think they will be to you, too.

Athletes + Preparation

The quality I admire most in professional athletes that applies to workplace training topics is their preparation. Athletes spend significantly more time practicing their sport than they do actually competing. The hours upon hours spent working out, eating exactly what their bodies need, and resting as they train say this to me: high-performers are willing to put in the reps upfront to get the end results they want.

In this same way, great workplace training programs don’t  build themselves. Instead, they start with leaders who are brimming with initiative, dedication, and consistency. People who are willing to put in the time from the start to create something great down the road. Simplifying training—whether that’s safety training courses, compliance, a list of safety certifications online, or just general onboarding or continuous improvement—starts with people who embody the same type of grit and determination of athletes.

Musicians + Repetition

If you’ve got the grit and determination of an athlete and can match it with the consistency and repetition of a musician, you’re golden. Professional musicians rehearse non-stop so they shine when it’s showtime. They’re diligent, iterative, and committed to honing their skills and mastering their skills. 

Practicing our jobs at work should be the same way if we want training to stick. Consistent time should be set aside for employees to identify where their greatest needs are, where their knowledge gaps lie, and where they can apply training to remedy those things. For example, a sales rep may feel confident in their email pitching, but when it comes to phone calls, they stumble over their words. By verbally rehearsing their pitch with a coworker or sending a recorded pitch to a manager for feedback on a regular basis, this weakness is matched with consistent practice that results in improvement. 

You + Great Workplace Training

Here’s the thing—those of us with a more standard, 8am – 5pm office job than athletes and musicians should still practice, too. We can all benefit from preparation and repetition in the way we practice our jobs and enable our teams for success. I said this earlier, but I’ll say it again: there’s really no sense in creating training programs that leave employees feeling drained or less equipped to succeed. The secret? Train your people like coaches and conductors; with preparation and repetition. Grit and consistency.


Think your team needs Lessonly? We think so, too.

Building a world-class customer service team takes both learning and practice, and Lessonly helps teams do both. Click here to get a quick look at what we do, or if you’re not sure about us yet, here are 5 things you should know about Lessonly!

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