Here’s the third post in our summer team guest blogging. Meg Fairchild has an MS in Environmental Studies and swims really fast. That’s impressive because, well, lets just say that Megan has to concentrate really hard just to blow bubbles without drowning herself.

We are now four weeks into a large, three-month project, and from day one it’s been full speed ahead. Bringing on seven new team members has doubled our staff, and I think for many companies, this type of transition might be slow and clunky. Here at TorranceLearning, it’s been smooth sailing thus far. We have been able to “hit the ground swimming”, so to speak, with ease. Thinking back on the whole process I think I might have some insights into why this has been a quick transition that has allowed us to produce fantastic work in such a short time.

Take a moment to close your eyes and think about the process of how one learns to swim.

Did you do it? Good. So, what’s the first step in the process? Do you start by diving into the water from the starting block? Do you read a book about proper swimming technique or listen to lecture? Probably not.

After 10 years of competitive swimming it’s sometimes hard for me to remember the first swim lessons I ever had, but I’ve seen and taught enough beginner classes to know that you start with the very basics. Jump in the water; splash around; get your face wet; put your whole head underwater; blow bubbles; hold onto the gutter and kick your feet. At the very beginning you don’t worry about swimming at all. It’s all about getting used to the water.

In a similar way, the staff at TorranceLearning began our training by allowing us to splash around in the project, the software, and the design; starting with the basics and letting us learn through experience. Alternatively, spending hour upon hour going over every detail of everything we might ever need to know (think three-inch thick training manual) would have left no time at all for experiential learning or getting our feet wet.

One week in, and it was time to start swimming forward. Were we as fast as Michael Phelps? No way! But we were comfortable in the water and had the knowledge and experience we needed to make forward progress toward our goal. As with swimming—or any sport, hobby or activity really—it’s with practice that we’ve gained speed, implemented more difficult techniques, and experimented with different methods.

One month in, we are by no means experts. But we are swimming along nicely, keeping pace with a large project that could have been daunting, and looking forward to reaching the finish line!