ImageToday I had the opportunity to watch my wife at work. She was delivering a training course on project management to employees of a national charity. As we run our business together, obviously we have worked together and participated in meetings together quite a lot, but this was the first time that I was in effect an observer to her in full flight, doing one of the many things that she does best.

I loved it! It was great to see her building relationships with the participants and taking them through some key points, approaches and techniques to help them to be able to more effectively manage the myriad projects they have responsibility for. Her knowledge, confidence and ability to think on her feet to adapt to issues as they arose, tailoring her approach to the context of the organisation were fantastic, and made me feel very proud.

After taking participants through an exercise to plan a fictional project to decorate a room (which included such crucial activities as sourcing tea, coffee and biscuits and having plenty of breaks!) in order to demonstrate the techniques to them, she led them through applying these techniques to their own work. This meant that by the end of the day, they had the bare bones of a project plan that they will actually use in their day jobs. Putting learning into practice right from day 1 – I believe that’s the most effective use of training. That way, it can immediately be directly applied to the day job so that benefits are seen straight away, making it far more likely that the new approach will swiftly become embedded in participants’ working lives.

She’s heading back to the organisation tomorrow for day 2 of the training course and this time I won’t be able to be there, which I’m really disappointed about. It was great to be able to step away today and just soak up the experience of watching someone (especially someone so important to me) do what they’re good at. I think that’s one of the main things I’ll take away from today (along with some brushing up on my project management skills, courtesy of my lovely wife!) – how helpful it is to step back every now and again and take on the role of spectator.

It’s so easy when you’re running your own business to feel too busy to not be proactively doing something, achieving something, ticking something off the to do list every moment of every day. But making time every now and again to sit back and learn something from observing someone else at work is definitely going on that precious to do list!