I’m Not Bob!

Someone recently asked why I don’t do jujitsu. I replied with my usual litany of reasons, or excuses if you will, and got a reply I didn’t expect: “Bob does it.”

That’s correct! Bob does practice jujitsu. But I’m not Bob.

Bob and I are similar in age and train under the same instructors, so does that mean we’re the same? Of course not!  

Just as I don’t expect my writers at work to perform at the same level just because they have the same job title, neither can each karateka be expected to be at the same skill level at each rank.

I hire intelligent people and then provide them all the same training when they start. But each writer comes with their own set of skills, aptitudes, and drive that is unlike any other. It’s these differences that I, as a manager, have to account for when training and assigning work.

Everyone brings different things to the mat, just as we do to the workplace. Some students have prior martial arts training; some are natural athletes; some have little physical skill; and some have been sitting on the couch for years. Some are interested in weapons, some are not; some love kata, others sparring.

Just as my mom spent my elementary years asking teachers not to compare her children, we should keep in mind that comparing employees or students to each other isn’t fair or appropriate.

Sure, there are certain expectations at each level, and instructors or managers have a right to expect a certain level of proficiency. But sometimes even those expectations aren’t met, while other times expectations are exceeded.

Can comparison be used to motivate a student or employee? Absolutely! But only if you know the people well and it’s an appropriate pairing. Otherwise, you’ll be comparing pickles to motorcycles.

As for my jujitsu training, I will return to classes after Friday’s Shodan test. But even then, please keep one thing in mind: I’m not Bob.

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