According to Malcolm Gladwell, in one of his bestselling book, Outliers, it takes around 10,000 hours of practice to achieve the level of mastery of something so that you will be considered an expert in what you do. It is a message for all of us that that it is not enough that you know your job. We have to get better. We have to keep honing our skills and abilities in order to be effective and efficient to whatever we set our minds to do.
Gladwell is saying that if you intend to master something, the practice of profession for example, you must undergo thousands of hours of training. You must be fearless enough to get your feet wet and get your hands dirty before you will achieve a level of success in your endeavors. I would know if a certain mechanic is an expert in his field because he is in demand as compared to someone who just pretends to know how to repair your car but the truth is, he is actually experimenting on it.
Board of Directors and other officers of co-ops are required to undergo training. They could actually be disqualified from their position if they ignore this requirement. A co-op business has unique features because co-ops have distinct concepts and principles. And it would be impossible to learn all these in a one or two-day Pre-Membership Education Seminar. The city of Rome with all its glory was never built in a day. It took years.
Do not think that if you have a little background on co-op as a business model, you can already run its operation. Little knowledge is not sufficient. It is even dangerous. Just watch any kung fu movie and you will find a student who learned a few fighting moves and is already challenging someone who spent years of training. You will find that student go home in crutches beaten black and blue with his self-confidence totally ruined. But if you accept the fact that there are a lot of lessons to learn then you will be able to master the business in due time. If you will not get better, you as well as your co-op will never succeed.
Some say it is a waste of resources especially for those micro and small co-ops who cannot afford to pay even the most minimal training fees. Whatever meager funds we have should be used in our operation, they argued. But training is never an expense. It is an investment! That is why successful companies spend thousands of pesos just to send their employees to trainings and seminars.
Oh if we could only find time to add to what we know and keep on piling the hours. If we could only take these trainings seriously and not for the sake of compliance. Then we can improve our personal lives, our dealings with other people, the manner we approach our work and the way we perform our duty to our co-op. As observed by one of the leading cooperative leaders in Benguet in the person of Mr. Miguel Luma-ang, co-op officers who regularly attend trainings and activities have better performing and more progressive co-ops.
We have to improve ourselves and get better. If we get better we become wiser. We become responsible. We will do not only what is good but we will do what is right. We will do the right things for our co-op not only for ourselves.
Do not be misled my friends. A one day co-op education seminar will not make you an effective officer and leader of your members. Your training 20 years ago will never even be sufficient. You have to spend hours and years of honing that ability before you can be an expert and a master of co-op management and governance. And that 10,000 hour rule is the ultimate test.