Real learning is a part of the work, not apart from it.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Cycle Learning: Acceleration and Power

This morning I got out for my first ride of the spring.  Its been a long winter and so some of my mechanics and cadence were off and I forgot my riding glasses but it didn't take too long to comeback (it's like riding a bike...heh).

If you do cycling at all then your probably familiar with clip-less pedals; ones where you use special shoes to lock yourself onto the bike pedal and with a quick jerk you can release.  The obvious advantage is that you are locked into your machine, you have double the power; pushing down on the pedal and pulling up as it cycles around. Pushing is the desired action for acceleration on downhills and flat road. Pulling is advantageous for the tough hills, where you need power. Pulling takes thought however, its not as inherently obvious to novice cyclists as it is to push.

Of course a ride in the quite morning allowed my thoughts to wander and in this case make connections. Cycling is work. And like our work, when we look to ramp up our performance, (especially during the less demanding crunch times) we can afford to engage in "push" or formal learning. These deeper learning dives; classes, courses, seminars, workshops, etc (when appropriate and well designed) can accelerate our knowledge and skill development. However we can't afford to turn to "push" during our work. In our task driven days when milestones loom like mountains we must turn to a different action; our ability to "pull" or leverage informal and social learning. No harder than push and not necessarily more important, pull learning is a key to success at a different time; during the metaphoric inclines. Pull is having focused networks to tap into coupled with Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) to draw upon ideas and resources that help us muscle through the tough spells. Pull is also our being cognizant of the work and learning through our mistakes.

Inclines, welcomed or not, (in cycling and in our work) come in a variety of gradations and frequencies. Those who work smarter, maximizes all opportunities for power and acceleration and turn mountains into mole hills.

1 comment:

Ara Ohanian said...

Mark, as a sometime cyclist myself, I’d agree that smart working is absolutely about pull as well as push. If I could extend the metaphor – I’d point out that we all get punches sometimes and that’s when having the right equipment and a good back up team are essential.