Wednesday, December 6

Imagine a course that "just" got students to get the quiet people talking

Imagine a course that "just" got employees to get the quiet people talking at the right time.

(And I mean really applying the skill on a near daily business. Imagine that an employee is increasingly uncomfortable in a conversation until everyone has chimed in.)

I would imagine that students would hate the program. ("Oh, it's so obvious. I already know I should do it, even if I don't." "I can't believe I spent a few hours learning this..." )

Management would have a hard time selling it, measuring it, or funding it. (Straetgic Goal #1: Getting People to Do Something that We All Already Know How to Do, and that can be summed up in a tag line in an email).

Yet I would imagine that the results from the application of the content would improve employee satisfaction ("My boss heard my great idea today"), innovation ("Let's try things differently"), and have a tremendous ROI.

I believe the real use of simple skills at the right time is so much more valuable than the intellectual acknowledgement of complicated processes, yet is almost impossible, due to our structures, egos, and value system, to actually implement.


jay said...

Clark, I'm with you on this one. Like the book says, "Conversation is the greatest instructional technology on earth." I am in favor of pushing the concept with cultural change, rearranging the furniture, and anything else in the HR arsenal.

Suzanne said...

I am reading "Listening, the Forgotten Skill". It has great advice for a "talker" like me. The only practice I get though is in the real world. I wish there were a safe place to practice. I'm sure the quiet people have the same problem. There are listening classes but by the time the techniques have been taught, there is no time for practice.

Anonymous said...

My comment to Suzanne is another "We all know this but we don't do this" thing. I believe that every training course should have at least 50% practice time. For example, a listening class that doesn't have time to practice listening needs to be fixed: (1) make it longer or (2) remove some of the content/lecture. It doesn't help people to hear about more techniques than they are able to practice.

My comment in general is: sometimes the "we already know this" problem can be addressed. For example, I sponsor several informal study groups at my office. I insist that each group has a mix of junior and senior staff. Initially, the senior staff always believe that they are participating just to share their best practices and company insight. In the end, the senior staff (and their work product) are often the most changed by the study group.


Clark Aldrich said...

"If I had six hours to learn anything, I would spend four of it practicing."

jay said...

Clark, you remind me of Abe Lincoln, although wasn't he starpening his axe in lieu of practicing?

Clark Aldrich said...

Oh, it is a shameless riff on Abe!

Peter Isackson said...

I wonder if the Lincoln quote isn't where jazz musicians' appelation "axe" for a musical instrument came from.

Sharpening the axe isn't practicing. It's getting ready for the kill. Wimpy musicians practice; the ones who have something to say with their horn sharpen their axe.

I see the distinction in terms of "practice" being the repetition of what the master (massa?) wants us to do in order to receive his approval. Whereas sharpening your axe is getting ready to do what you know will be effective.

I guess you could say Abe knew how to cut it. And he could also play his riffs!