What Does TWI Mastery Look Like?

The Oxford Dictionary defines mastery as comprehensive knowledge or skill in a particular subject or activity. ‘Comprehensive’ means?

The first TWI Masters Meetup was held in Savannah GA on Wednesday 20 February 2019 just before the annual TWI Summit. The purpose was to gain insight into the question ‘What Does TWI Mastery Look Like?’ (The longer term view was to lay a foundation for future meetups.)

Attendees (about 30) were split into five groups with each given open questions the purpose being to trigger discussion. Following is a summary of the groups’ main thoughts.

Personal attributes of a master (in any field)

Fundamentally a master is a person who recognizes there is no end, no point at which ‘I’m a master’. They practice their craft continually and through the experiences arising continually grow their knowledge and skill – deeper knowledge leads to their better skill application. Through practice their craft is embedded in their character – the way they function and interact with others. Continued practice often leads into the unknown where the greatest learning is likely to occur.

It’s not what you do once in a while, it’s what you do day in and day out that makes a difference. – Jenny Craig

Among many things a master can:

  • Adapt and adjust appropriately given their wide situational experiences.
  • Light a fire in others through their passion and beliefs in their craft.
  • Truly celebrate when the student excels and surpasses them.
  • Listen with intent to understand, not reply; be open minded – ‘there will always be a better way’.

Personal attributes of a TWI Master

A master of TWI will have general attributes and specific ones alongside. The key specific ones identified were credibility coming from practical experience and application and TWI is in their blood; others see and feel that.

Others included:

  • Has an innate respect for the workers workplace knowledge and skills.
  • Knowledge of all components of TWI and how they link together.
  • Effectively communicates TWI knowledge and skills at all levels (executives to team leads).
  • Well versed on ‘adult learning’ and change leadership.
  • Can adapt TWI application to the current situation – apply in a wide range of situations; read the environment; right tool at the right time.
  • When something goes off track they have enough reference knowledge and skill to quickly respond in the best way.

Mastery can’t be achieved (or practiced) in isolation

An interesting point raised… a brilliant football coach won’t be successful in a club that doesn’t have aligned beliefs, attitudes and behaviors.

The groups tended to split what was needed into two areas – management support and the work environment or culture. Perhaps if you consider culture to be ‘the way most of the people behave most of the time’ then management’s actions may breed culture? With this in mind we’ll just consider briefly key requirements of management support:

  • Strategic alignment and consistency.
  • Model the behaviors being taught. For example, if Job Relations then exhibit the Four Foundations daily.
  • Hold those being trained to account for using the new skills.
  • Support in quickly addressing road blocks.
  • Latitude to fail and learn (along the pathway to success).