Tacit Knowledge LO2058

Wed, 12 Jul 1995 10:48:46 -0400

Replying to LO2025

Oops!! Feels like I blew my clarity of communications! On bowling....

On Sun, 9 Jul 1995 I had written:

> suggest some of the tacit was "already in them"? With 9 games of bowling
> prior to joining a bowling league, in 4 months I became proficient enough
> (220 average in three leagues) to consider becoming a professional bowler.

Jim Michmerhuizen responded in LO2025:

>In response to your bowling story, I have to offer this short memoir, as
>a cautionary tale;^}

>I had a short bowling career back in high school. I bowled with friends
>maybe a dozen times in the course of the winter. My first game was around
>250. My last was, oh, -10 or something: one ball jumped across into the
>next lane. The scores of the intervening games were an approximately linear
>interpolation between these two values.

Two other responses besides Jim's make it sound like I was understood to
have bowled only a few games to get to the level of considering a
professional career. Actually, I bowled a lot of games. But, I entered
league having bowled 9 games in my life. And my learning curve was
astonishing to me and others.

At the end of 3 weeks (9 more games plus quite a bit of practice) I bowled
at the national average of 155. For the next 4 months, the average went up
approximately 10-15 pins every three weeks until reaching the 220 average.

In the previous posting, I then compared bowling to my totally futility in
other sports but did not mention I practiced them as much as bowling. MY
FUNDAMENTAL question is why did I learn bowling so much easier and faster
than the other sports I attempted?

I argue that some things are more natural for a person (the tacit side)
and it only takes the explicit to make us aware of this tacit side. I
understand the concern/caution Jim is expressing. I tried golf - once.
Birdied the fourth hole - a par 4. Thought - Wow! Another game I am a
natural at. Out of bounds on the next two holes. Last hole, must have shot
about a 12 for a par 4. Decided I was not so natural at golf.

When I ask about the NATURALNESS of something (bowling for me and also
math) when most others spend much more time learning the same thing, I
should have asked:

Has anyone experienced this "unexpected rate of learning" upon
introduction to something new, which endured for an extended period time
(not a flash in the pan)? In other words, it was easy in the beginning,
through application they improved rapidly, and it was not just a fleeting
moment in time?

Have a great day!!

Dave Buffenbarger
Organizational Improvement Coach
Dow Chemical Company
(517) 638-7080