I recently was involved doing some ‘preparatory’ work with a group of people who were about to embark on a training program. It was one designed to provide them will skills and tools that, when applied, would enable them to climb higher on their personal success path. Climbing higher varied for each participant. For some, it meant finding gainful employment of a most basic type. For others it meant moving into ranks of management and still there were some who wanted to use the training to move boldly into a very different field. They were all well-educated people and yet, somewhere along the way, they’d gotten off track.
So what was my role you wonder and what was the ‘preparatory work?
The organization spearheading this initiative realized that training and learning is a two-pronged endeavor. First there is the learning itself. Haven’t we all participated in a seminar that we or our companies sent us to so that we could learn to ___________ ( fill in the blank). We leave the session on a high, filled with enthusiasm and energy to return to our jobs and put the learning into practice. Yahoo! This is SO great! And then Monday morning arrives and “life happens”. Our habits and ‘normal’ routine roars into our day and the learning dissipates … and rather quickly. It’s has nothing to do with our desire to employ the new things we learned. It has everything to do with creating the time and mind-set that allows us to use it.
Herein lies the second prong … creating the mindset and determination to ensure our new skills are applied.
When we don’t execute this important step, the results often look like this:
- Just tack it on to the end. – Why disrupt something that has been working even when the new learning would improve the previous process? If only we would break that apart and reassemble around the new learning or new tool. Efficiencies?
- I love it but I just don’t have time. We are ALL busy. The real question is … are we busy with things over which we have actual control and influence? Are we wasting time being involved in things we have no responsibility for or no control over?
- What’s the point … I’ve tried so many other things that just don’t work. Right! Then why even take the course or attend the seminar? I’m defeated before I even robotically go through the learning.
My job in working with this group was to help them both practically and mentally open up their minds and make room on their plates to embrace and utilize the learning that was to follow. What will I need to do to employ the learning in a way meaningful to the way I work and to the others who are involved with me? What room do I need to create for the changes?
As it turns out it was a good call from the organization. The participants approached the learning knowing that they had created the vision of how they wanted to use it, the room on their plates to make use of it and the determination to apply it for all it was worth to help them climb to their new height. There was no wasted learning here through the recognition of that all-important second prong. So it seems that we are wise to deal with the prongs in reverse order. What we all should question is how prepared and determined are we to apply the learning and address that … before we enter the ‘classroom’. It will save us time & scarce resources for sure. How much richer that will be?