The Problems with Traditional Skill Transference

Where to even begin!??!?! There are so many problems with the traditional approach to skill transference, it’s hard to know where to start. Given my interest in finding practical approaches to “unleashing the vast untapped human potential,” I get so angry and frustrated, thinking about the multitude of ways that it all goes wrong with traditional approaches, and how many people are left feeling impotent in their own lives as a result.  (see “Unleashing the Vast Untapped Human Potential” )

The worst offender is that it seems to be commonly accepted that the current state of affairs in skill transference is the best that we can do – that we’ve somehow reached the pinnacle of best practices in efficiently or effectively executing the transfer of any given skill set from one individual to another, an expert to a novice, with any amount of reliability. And, when we no longer see this as a problem, we stop looking for the answers – to finding a way of doing it BETTER!!! I refuse to accept this!! Here’s where RSTP comes to the rescue! (see “What Sets RSTP Apart from Traditional Skill Transference Approaches? ” and “Best Practices” )

My next beef is with the cultural notion that seems to have pervaded our thinking – that “you’re either born with it or you’re not,” that either you’ve got a natural aptitude for a particular skill, or you don’t… That you somehow came out of the womb with the capacity to play an under-par game of golf, solve a quadratic equation, or cook a great meal. There are so very many things wrong with this belief, and the consequences of holding this belief…

  • As far as I can tell, there’s no particular gene attached to any given skill. So, while there may be certain physical characteristics that make obtaining certain skills easier, or that could keep individuals from ascending to the very elite heights of any given endeavor, there are very few skill sets in which the physical characteristics of the individual would preclude proficiency.
  • One of the extensions of the belief that “you’ve either got it or you don’t,” is the belief that there’s something inherently wrong with, or missing in you, right out of the gate, leaving you feeling that you can’t possibly acquire the given skill, so why bother trying? (see “There’s Something Wrong with Me”)
  • We’re all sucked into the notion that we want to be, or are only successful, if we attain the skill level of Michael Phelps, Warren Buffet, or Peekaboo Street (lol, did I just date myself?), when in fact, most of us are only, and only need to be striving for, a skill level somewhere between good and great – we’re not looking to be in the top 1% – we’re looking to possess a functional skill set – we want be a weekend warrior who is strong during the swim portion of a sprint distance triathlon, we want to successfully manage our personal investment portfolio, we want to feel powerful and confident bombing down that ski run. We want to be better at living our LIVES!!! Not necessarily stand on a podium or be a billionaire! How many people stay stuck, right where they’re at because the belief “I’m not good at that” becomes a dead-end non-starter for so many.

Then there’s the random nature of obtaining some level of skill mastery

  • Unlike the methodical, reliable and predictable approach of the RSTP, typically one must randomly find or stumble upon some way to acquire a given skill – it’s a very hit or miss proposition – there’s no certainty of whether you’ve chosen a reliably successful approach.
  • Often you’re not sure that you have the best approach to acquiring any given part of the skill you’re after, much less access to the very best practices available for the entire skill transfer sequence. You may be at the tail receiving end of a downward spiral of partially useful skills passed down at every step of the transfer, from one instructor to the next, like broken DNA, or the telephone game – pieces are lost or broken, and no longer add together to make an effect transfer sequence.

Finally, there are the problems inherent with the Subject Matter Expert (SME). When the SME attempts to pass on their expertise, they take a lot for granted. Because so much of their skill set is now tucked away in their unconscious competence, to which they have little access, they have many blind spots that translate into incomplete skill acquisition for the student. (see “The Expert Doesn’t Know What They Know” )

So, what is the solution to all of these problems? The methodical extraction and transfer of skill from expert to novice, using the Rapid Skill Transfer Protocol! (see “What Is The Protocol in RSTP?” )

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