A Path to Mastery, What to Expect

Mastery in any field is a long journey with many ups and downs, and it can be challenging to know what to expect along the way. That’s why I invited Herbert A. Van Patten II, the VP and CEO of Isis Solutions, to share his unique perspective on the topic. Herb has a cool concept that can help people stay engaged on the path to mastery. Check out the whole Podcast video here:

The conversation started with the common mistake of hiring highly capable individuals for complex jobs and expecting them to perform right away without proper ramping and #onboardingprocess. This mistake can lead to failure, and it’s the employer’s responsibility to give the new hire the necessary support at every stage of their development. Herb emphasized that blaming the individual for failing in the role is not a solution, and it’s also very expensive in terms of time and resources.

Herb shared a personal story of how he discovered a better way to #train new case managers. He noticed that there was a 20% fall start rate among new hires in the position, and that was a problem. He talked to a new case manager who was struggling and found out that he was anxious and overwhelmed by the amount of new information he had to process. Herb diagrammed the entire process for #newhires and identified the critical thresholds that they need to cross. He found that the fall start rate dropped from 20% to 5%, and he started doing the same process for every new hire in the company.

The process involves identifying the first significant threshold that the new hire needs to cross, which they will know when they take a figurative and literal step. The first threshold is the point of confusion, where everything is new, and there are many moving parts to the job. Mistakes are common in this stage, and they lead to anxiety, but they are also part of the learning process. Herb emphasized the importance of #failingforward and using mistakes as an opportunity for #constantimprovement.

As the new hire gains more experience and confidence, they become more effective and efficient in the role. The next threshold is the point of self-realization, where the new hire recognizes that they are becoming better at the job, and the customers are requesting their service. This recognition leads to greater confidence and an increased sense of purpose, which motivates the new hire to continue on the path to mastery. 

Herb mentioned the concept of 10,000 hours of focused effort to master anything, as popularized by Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers. He also touched on the current culture, where the expectation is that if you’re uncomfortable, something is wrong. Herb disagreed with this idea and said that being uncomfortable is often an indicator that you’re outside of your comfort zone, which is where growth happens.

The path to mastery is a long and challenging journey, but with the right support and mindset, anyone can achieve it. #Employers have a responsibility to give new hires the necessary support and guidance at every stage of their development, and new hires need to embrace the process of failing forward and using mistakes as an opportunity for improvement. With these principles in mind, anyone can achieve their personal and professional goals and reach their full potential.