Cut through the noise
Guest Blog Entry by John McDermott
“But the book was so much better than the movie,” my wife said. I agreed. I’ve heard that a lot. Along with it, I’ve heard “I thought the woods were darker”, “David seemed older than that in the book”, and so forth. When we hear or read stories we create mental images of them. When we tell stories we hold our own images of them. Our pictures can be so strong that we think listeners will see the same images. They might not, though, if we don’t share the details of what we see.
In preparing for a series starting this week, Staying Centered Through Conflict™, I wrote a note to the participants. Part of it read: “For me, conflict tends to arise in two categories: critical needs and inconsequential stuff. Our sessions will provide tools for managing the critical needs. The conflict that we classify as inconsequential stuff is perhaps best managed by recognizing it for what it is – annoying, a nuisance – and ignoring it. Our effort is so much better directed towards other things.”
Comedian George Carlin has a bit he used to do about driving in which he describes people who drive slower than him as idiots and those who speed past as maniacs. Perspective is a funny thing.
I was reminded of that when listening to funny stories being shared by a team during an exercise recently. Their experiences prompted me to share a story of my own:
Having been invited to speak at a conference on achieving professional and personal success, I began researching goals, goal setting, and goal achievement. In my refusal to stand before a group of professionals and speak to them about SMART goals, I found this article on HARD goals. It was the final piece I was looking for to round out my session.
During business writing courses, a question I typically ask is “who here accepted a job because you knew it required you to write?” Many chuckle and shake their heads – as if! – and occasionally two or fewer raise a hand – attorneys, public communication officers, and those in marketing usually. When collaborating on technical writing projects, I meet many competent and successful professionals who are insecure in their writing skills and uncomfortable with the act. When was the last time you wrote something – something other than an email, a to do list, or a social media post?
Here is why I ask…
Yesterday, I was asked if I had a morning routine. I had to think before answering. Largely because just days before I initiated a new practice – starting my week days by connecting with a person I’ve been thinking about but with whom I haven’t spoken recently. It didn’t seem fair to refer to a two-day-old habit as a routine yet. What I realized in that moment is that we all have routines – some of us are just more deliberate about them than others.
In Same Training, Half the Time, I invite readers to expand on this excerpt from the book – a list of challenges that are driving increased demands on learning. Please share additional reasons from your experience in the comments of this post.
Once upon a time – well a month ago – I attended an open-mic storytelling event and was reminded of the staying power stories possess, the vivid imagery they can create, and how much fun they can be to listen to. We heard five stories that night and I had five unique experiences – the first story informed me, the second deeply moved me, the third motivated me, I laughed hysterically at the fourth, and was reminded of how fortunate I am by the last. That is a lot in the span of 90 minutes or so. And what is more – I remember all five stories clearly – I can see all five of them as mini-movies in my mind right now – weeks later. And that speaks to the power of stories for trainers, those who lead meetings, and – frankly – all of us.
In my work with learning and development leaders, I commonly encounter professionals working hard to enhance other employees’ skills and develop them for the future of their positions. Yet, so often, that same effort isn’t invested in preparing themselves for the future. So, beyond mastering the fundamentals of the field, what is a L&D leader to do?
Here are five ideas to achieve more by doing less based on two themes I consistently hear from learning professionals.
Kimberly contributed to "You can fix internal skills gaps — but you have to find them first" published by www.hrdive.com. Access the full article here.