Working in Beginner Mode

DIY Talent Development

Whether it's what we do when we're not working, or what we're doing when we are working, learning is how we live in the world.

Just today you learned a lot: the new coffee shop has delicious coffee, it's impossible to hum while holding your nose, pressing and holding the space bar on an iPhone allows you to navigate a line of text, the new route home takes five minutes off your commute, anchovies are ... good?, your friend wants to get together for dinner next week, a character in the novel you're reading had a big set-back, and on and on and on.

All that knowledge, some important, some irrelevant, and most of it somewhere in-between helps to guide you as you go.

"You will be newbie forever," writes Kevin Kelly, "Get good at the beginner mode, learning new programs, asking dumb questions, making stupid mistakes, soliciting help, and helping others with what you learn (the best way to learn yourself)."

A newbie forever. Beginner mode. I like that.

Beginner Mode is happening at work, too: the budget variance is ... positive (!), an employee resigned to accept a new job, a colleague appreciated your compliment in the meeting, the first step in a crucial conversation is to start with heart, the strategy doesn't seem to be working, the Joint Commission is paying extra attention to negative pressure patient rooms this year, and so forth and beyond.

In The Transforming, things at work (relationships, projects, strategies, directives, technology, problems, etc.) are always changing. It is to our benefit (at times a necessity, at other times: an advantage) to learn those changes, use them, explore them, understand them, and respond right along with them.

The Transforming requires Beginner Mode: a learning orientation, asking questions, making mistakes, soliciting help, and helping others with what you learn.

Through The Work is a talent development studio for healthcare leadership embracing The Transforming—the always-happening, always-unfolding state of change in your job ... and using it to make more of the change you know should be happening, happen.

The Transforming is the most important professional opportunity of our careers—one that will lead to new job opportunities, real change, and a transformed industry for all of us and everyone else.

My name is Drew Weilage and I work in healthcare, too. At Through The Work, I assist people like you with the skills, attitudes, and points-of-view to propel your professional success. It's personal training for a transforming world of work.

Oh, and pep talks! Get a pep talk when you need one: big day, bad day, or any day at all. Text me at 646-450-2465 or send me a note.

Through The Work Writing

Working Out Loud Blog

Ideas and inspiration on The Now of Work to fuel your thinking, learning, and creating. Get inspired.



Navigating The Transforming—the always-happening, always-unfolding state of change in your job—is the path to personal satisfaction, professional success, and real progress. Here's how to do it.

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