This past week my daughter graduated from her elementary school. Her journey from kindergarten through fifth grade has been inspiring to me. At every stage, the focus has been on making sure that she grasps the fundamental concepts of each subject and creates a strong foundation for stepping up to the next level of mastery.
My elementary school was far different from hers. It was part of an overcrowded school district in San Jose, California. Classes of 40 or more, schools on double session, etc. More than that, my elementary school was experimenting with “The New Math”. Learning shortcuts took the place of mastering the fundamentals.
When my family moved to upstate New York I received some math tutoring over the course of my first year of middle school. It was painful and humbling. I eventually caught up to some degree but I was never more than a B student in math.
Back to my daughter’s situation, and a much happier story. My daughter is a gifted (ahem, in my humble opinion) writer. She breezed through the reading and writing portions of her elementary school curriculum. However, math was more challenging for her. Given my history, I decided that I would make sure she didn’t repeat my bad experience with math.
As it turns out, I didn’t need to worry. Her math curriculum was focused on all the right things. Her teachers took a logical, step by step approach that also made it interesting for her to master the fundamentals.
This past year, she joined the advanced math class and achieved a 95 average. She worked hard and I couldn’t be more proud of her.
So what business and life lesson was brought into focus by my daughter’s school experience? If you want to master an important subject or skill area, even one that doesn’t come naturally to you, it all starts with studying and mastering the fundamentals and building a strong foundation.
Deep down you and I know that there are no shortcuts worth taking in business. For example, if you’re feeling challenged to generate profitable new business, then chances are good that you need to strengthen your sales knowledge and skill base. Perhaps it’s time for a thorough review of the fundamentals.
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