Sunday, April 12, 2015

GKP -- General Knowledge Worker Preparedness

There's a concept in the world of physical culture called "General Physical Preparedness" (GPP). Basically, it's that stuff that you do to be a better athlete without actually training your specific sport. Of course, the only way to get better at a sport is to practice it but without sufficient GPP the athlete will fail in his or her efforts to meet their potential. It is, apparently, a Soviet concept. According to one source:

"GPP training serves several functions: 1) the formation, strengthening or restoration of habits (skills) which play an auxiliary, facilitory role in sports perfectioning. 2) As a means of educating abilities, developed insufficiently by the selected type of sport, raising the general work capacity or preserving it. 3) As active rest, assisting the restoration processes after significant, specific loading and counteracting the monotony of the training. These functions define the role of the general-preparatory exercises in the athlete's training system."

Coach Dan John provides an elaboration of this concept with is four quadrant model. Basically, you can describe any pursuit in terms of the number of required skills and the quality of the skills required. We all start with few skills of low quality. Particular sports, however, have different demands. He notes that being successful at PhysEd class requires one to learn a lot of different skills but at relatively low quality. Becoming proficient at sports like olympic lifting or sprinting, however, require a tremendous amount of skill at a small number of things. Things like MMA, rugby, etc. actually require one to have a huge number  of highly developed skills.

The challenging is knowing what quadrant you need to be in. Dan John argues that most of us think that we should train for quadrant two, but the reality is that we probably don't need to. Instead, we need to have an awareness of a number of different skills but become really good at a small number of them. In this manner, we could potentially have the capacity to get to quadrant two but we probably won't have to.

So what's is the equivalent of GPP for knowledge workers? What is General Knowledge Worker Preparedness? Here's a short list of skills:

  • How do you manage your time?
  • How do you manage your email?
  • How do you manage meetings?
  • How do you manage phone calls?
  • How do you figure out what it is that you spend all of your time on?
  • How do you manage your knowledge?
  • How do you automate your processes?
  • How do you manage your documents?
  • How do you manage your security?
  • How do you build deliverables?
  • How do you build reports?
  • How do you build presentations?
  • How do you build spreadsheets?
  • How do you set passwords?
  • How do you manage projects?
  • What do you eat at a business lunch?
I'm sure this list will grow over time.


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