Like most things in life, no one becomes an expert at anything without practice or experience and training.
As some may remember, a few years back I described how Wednesdays had great significance for me because it became "guitar day".
My son and I learned the guitar together with Lynne Smith of Fun Guitar, and had a great time along the way learning a new skill.
Since then I have been part of a band project, Vinyl, which is one of the best things I have done in years.
And this week I have been practising like crazy to bring two new songs to our catalogue.
Albeit not all of the band members are won over by the songs so they may never grace a gig set list - but fortunately the band is a democracy, and it is more about having fun with the music.
These days I use YouTube to find tutorials to guide technique and then it is about repetition to embed the skill.
I am never going to be David Gilmour or Prince, but by strumming a few chords I can at least contribute to the rest of the band – but at the centre of it is training myself to be better.
Throughout my business career there have been times when training has been necessary as we took on new and different activities and projects.
The key was having expertise and experience in the team and sharing that. It is kind of like succession planning in a day-to-day work environment.
When learning the guitar or becoming familiar with business activities the process is the same.
The factors for success or failure are the same also. In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell talked of the factors that drive success.
The main takeaway was the notion that it takes 10,000 hours to master a task or activity.
While I am realistic that there are about 7000 hours between me and my debut as the second coming of Mark Knopfler, there is great reward in getting results from hard work.
If you have staff with knowledge and experience gaps, the key is investing in training and development. Mentoring is also important.
A true mentor encourages and draws respect and higher performance.
The best that I had in my career was a partner at Deloitte prior to our moving the family to Whanganui.
His style was to always keep me thinking about the work and refining how I approached various factors unique to each project.
At a different time, I was also mentored by a graduate of Oxford University and his approach was ensuring work was complete and accurate but also well reported.
Each mentor brought different angles but contributed to the whole – and I was the better for it.
In the sense of my current efforts to perfect the guitar work of Robert Smith and Keith Richards, I am drawing from those early days back with Lynne.
But it is infinitely better to have a real person providing mentorship and real-time feedback - so watching and mimicking the technical mastery of Vinyl guitarist Stu Mackintosh is a great help.
And who knows, one day I might even be ready to take those new songs the stage – although, based on progress so far, I will probably need to find someone to train me to sing and play them at the same time.