My First Apprenticeship

Reflections on My Time with Truth at Work

July 31 marked the last official day of my apprenticeship with Truth at Work. The past five months have just flown by, for the most part. I can still remember in detail the first week of training, the mistakes I made using HubSpot, the struggles of printing with an ancient machine, and the initial confusion of working in an office environment.

A visual representation of an office space at my apprenticeship (not accurate)

In this post, I would like to focus on a few benefits the apprenticeship had for me. Of course, I had days that were less than exciting, but overall, the knowledge and experience gained from working for Truth at Work were invaluable to my development as a business professional.

Teamwork & Cooperation 

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

Helen Keller

In any business environment, even as an entrepreneur or sole proprietor, you will find the need for teamwork and cooperation. And in case you are wondering, collaboration is good! I have always despised working groups, especially for academic projects, because I generally found myself taking on most of the leadership responsibilities and the actual tasks of the assignment. Part of that was my fault: people fell short of my expectations, and the strict deadlines did not encourage me to trust others to accomplish the work with excellence.

However, when I entered Apprentice University as a JumpStart student, and later, in my apprenticeship, my experience with group projects helped me to begin changing my perspective on teamwork.

At Truth at Work, I saw first-hand the relief that comes when you can trust people enough to delegate tasks to them, instead of completing every minute detail yourself. When you have the pressure of managing people, but can’t know with certainty that they’ll accomplish the work, and so you have to do everything, stress levels go through the roof. Additionally, no matter how strong your work ethic, product/service quality inevitably decreases, at least slightly.

Not only do you end up burning yourself out, but you also create tension in relationships. People will realize that you don’t trust them and will be less likely to trust you in turn. They won’t respect you as a leader because you aren’t leading anybody.

How do you develop a culture of teamwork and cooperation where people feel accepted and valued, a strong work ethic exists, and you can obtain the highest product/service quality?

First, you must define the roles and responsibilities for the leader(s), and then those for team members. Second, you must trust people to meet deadlines. Third, if people don’t meet deadlines or the work isn’t up to par, then you have to establish consequences and disciplinary procedures.

During my apprenticeship, I experienced significant internal transitions within Truth at Work that forced everyone involved to clarify their positions. It was a blessing to observe, especially within a Christian organization, and to see how doing so aids in ministry and business efficiency. When you acknowledge people’s talents and skills, everyone is more content, more productive, and more willing to contribute and collaborate. The result is an optimal impact on the community.

A visual symbol of teamwork and cooperation among co-workers, lesson from apprenticeship

Note: One of the changes within Truth at Work was the transition of CEO from Ray Hilbert to Dave Holly. This adjustment allowed Mr. Hilbert more time to invest in high-level relationships with business leaders around the country. He excels as a networker and connecting with people. As a result, Truth at Work now produces podcasts (Bottom Line Faith) with fantastic content, from stories of failure and success to sound business principles to personal development advice.

Candor

Right along with teamwork and collaboration goes the idea of candor. Candor is “the quality of being open and honest in expression; frankness.” According to Kim Scott, in her book Radical Candor, true honesty and transparency in relationships consist of caring about someone personally and challenging him or her directly.

Candor at my apprenticeship

She details other behaviors and attitudes people exemplify that, in several ways, serve to destroy, devalue, and diminish relationships, work ethic, autonomy, productivity, and creativity in the business world. In essence, then, to succeed in the marketplace and promote your mission and vision, you must have truth at work among employees and employers.

I saw and experienced radical candor during my apprenticeship. At my first meeting with Colleen, my primary mentor, she told me plainly that she would be completely honest with me. She proved her words over the next five months. Colleen also helped me work through a particular situation with another employee, demonstrating radical candor throughout the process.

She taught me that people will be people, and you will always have to deal with their quirks. But if you maintain an attitude of authenticity and transparency, speak with truth and grace, and exhibit integrity, you will find that interacting and working with others becomes significantly easier and more enjoyable.

Networking 

Networking picture for lesson from apprenticeship

This lesson was something I already knew from my time at AU. My experience at Truth at Work only served to confirm the crucial importance of networking to success in life and business. Yes, networking has the benefits of generating new leads, references, and referrals. More than that, networking provides relationships.

Truth at Work provides Christian business owners and leaders with Executive Round Tables. Here, you experience the power and value of networking with peers committed to helping you grow personally, professionally, and spiritually. The average group has 200+ years of combined experience in various business disciplines. These groups generate transformations in many members’ lives and companies.

In other words, networking means investing in relationships. That’s why it’s so valuable.

Conclusion

I learned a lot more from my apprenticeship, but it would take way too long to detail all the lessons.

The only thing left to say is that I’m incredibly grateful I decided to enroll in AU. For someone with many interests, passions, and talents, it has proved a great blessing. Experiencing and observing different work environments has been invaluable for my personal and professional development.

I cannot wait to tell you all about my next apprenticeship, so stay tuned!

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