You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know!

Good morning fellow Rugby World Champions!

Have you ever wondered what transforms a good team into a great team? The answer often lies not in the hours of solo work but in the power of collaborative growth and mentorship—this is the “20%” we speak about in our focused learning model.

Back in 1997, I was an energetic and enthusiastic high school teacher who also had the responsibility of coaching first team cricket. The squad was departing for their first international tour to the UK where they would play eight matches followed by a final game against the Dutch U18 side in Den Hague. I had prepared myself and the team by attending the necessary cricket courses and by drawing on my recent experience of playing premier league cricket. I believed that through training and my personal experiences, the team would be well-equipped to represent their country, their school and themselves in unfamiliar conditions. At this point, I had also decided to reach out to a former old boy who had represented South Africa and had spent a few seasons playing county cricket for Somerset in the UK.

Jimmy Cook, former South African cricketer who played in three cricket Test matches and four One Day Internationals from 1991 to 1993, graciously accepted and spent time with me and the boys to unpack his experience of the English conditions and the match balls used there so that we could be best prepared for our trip. What a blessing to have Jimmy as mentor during this time. No matter what my experience in local conditions was or how much training and preparation we did, it became clear to me – You Don’t Know what you Don’t Know! I truly believe that the insights Jimmy shared with us as a team and as individuals, was a catalyst for our success on that tour and resulted in the team only losing one of their nine matches.

Studies reveal that effective mentorship can enhance performance by up to 25% because it accelerates learning through the wisdom of shared experiences. I saw that firsthand!

In our organizations, embracing this “20%” means creating robust mentorship programmes, nurturing a culture of feedback, and encouraging peer-to-peer learning. It’s here that the nuanced skills and tacit knowledge—rarely found in manuals – takes effect. At Kwelanga Training, we are not just a training provider, we see ourselves as a partner, equally invested in the growth and learning of our client’s people! So, I challenge you – Seek out an opportunity to engage a mentor or mentee. The 70-20-10 learning model suggests that only 10% of learning occurs through formal training. A further 20% of learning occurs from peer-to-peer or social learning, where individuals draw on the experiences of their team members to help activate the lessons acquired in formal training.

To this effect, we have introduced the Personal Elevation Plan to assist employees post training by facilitating conversations with peers and managers that strive to activate the training received. This month, we’re delving into strategies to maximize the “20%” in your learning and development initiatives. How can mentorship be structured effectively? What processes can encourage the most valuable feedback? How do you foster a culture of shared learning? Speak to us now about how our 70-20-10 learning model can be applied in your environment to achieve successful behavioural change.

Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” — Helen Keller

Join us next month when we address the critical “10%” – ensuring the impact of formal learning is felt long after the training ends. Until then, let’s celebrate our learning together!