01/02/2014 02:29 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Improve Your Performance With Rehearsal

Practice Makes Perfect

2013-11-05--GirlwithInstrument.jpgRemember the old adage, practice makes perfect? We're expected to show up and be perfect at a moment's notice. Maybe it's time to learn from that old adage and give yourself the opportunity to rehearse and practice to improve your work and life.

My dad was the NBC Nightly News announcer in New York City at 30 Rock during the era of the Huntley-Brinkley news show. When I was a young girl, I had the privilege of going with my dad to the studios on several occasions to watch him work. In show business there is a lot of rehearsal and practice. My dad would be given a script for his part of the show and then he'd get to work by highlighting certain sections, rewriting and editing copy to better fit his style, and then practice, practice, practice. Why isn't this standard practice in every business? How would you assess your performance in your work and life? Do you allow yourself time for "rehearsal" in each of your performances?

We live in uncertain times. This uncertainty affects both work and life. Although there is no certain antidote to uncertainty, one of the best that I have found in my work at WorkLife for Women, is by supporting individual development. Yes, the various activities, deadlines and challenges you face in both work and life do leave room for the opportunity to rehearse if you target and make a plan. Creating an Individual Development Plan (IDP) helps you discover how to manage the journey and explore the opportunities that are available. Why is this? In the absence of certainty in our work and careers, investing time and resources in development has several positive effects:

1. It helps you to focus on possibilities of the future;

2. It creates a sense of readiness for whatever may happen;

3. It increases a sense of worth knowing the value you bring to your work and life.

Training vs. Development

2013-11-07-WhiteBoard.jpgWe're not talking about training here. Training is an investment in skills that are necessary for the present moment. Development is focused on your future and self-actualization. Studies by Gallup and others have shown conclusively that high engagement by employees is directly related to opportunities that lead to personal and organizational growth. By fostering learning and growth it opens the door to "rehearsal" by having regular discussions with a supervisor or manager in a safe, supportive dialogue. This rehearsal strategy becomes something that everyone looks forward to rather than dreading the annual performance review.

Our philosophy is that development should be self-directed. In other words, the responsibility for choices, rationale and relevance of development choices, should be initiated by the individual, not the company. It is important to experience this learning as a dynamic process where the individual takes charge of her development. Consider this as the rehearsal. It is not static but may become so when and if the choice becomes to limit personal efforts and leave it on the shelf. This is meant to be your career and personal development journey.

Rehearsal Begins Here

How do you get started? As you continue on the WorkLife journey, the script would look something like this:

1. Ask for ongoing, informal feedback discussions. This is where you get to rewrite, edit and practice, practice, practice.

2. Assess current state and align with two-three developmental goals for the current year. Be sure that each of the following areas is included in the plan.

  • a. Overall: Health and well-being.
  • b. Short-term: Necessary skills enhancement.
  • c. Long-term: Career development.

3. Discuss your developmental activities and choose books, associations, conferences, mentors, etc. to support your rehearsal strategies.

4. Commit to utilizing the selected resources, honor your time commitments and most of all keep in mind that it's all about the rehearsal.


Along with accepting the old adage, practice makes perfect, learn to embrace the new mantra, rehearsal leads to a better performance. The stage is your worklife and the show is greater satisfaction and better performance. Hurry, the curtain is rising!