Funny how something as simple as teaching your daughter to use a leaf blower can reinforce and confirm ideas about learning any new skill. This last week my daughter saw me “playing” with a leaf blower and showed some real interest in trying it out herself. What happened next would drive some classic/corporate staff development / training people crazy, or more accurately what we didn’t do. We …
- Didn’t go get my daughter leaf blower manual and have her read through it (and have a written test for her afterwards).
- Didn’t tell her to go Google “Leaf Blowing” and see what other people trying to leaf-blow had done
- Didn’t sign her up for the two-day “Leaf Blowing 101” class, or get us plane tickets to Vegas for the latest “Leaf Blowing Futures 2009" Conference.”
- Didn’t start her on a fake project in the “Leaf Lab” where she blows artificial leaves through a series of increasingly complicated leaf-blowing scenarios
- and I Didn’t buy her the latest “Leaf Blowing for Dummies” or “Leaf Blowing Mastery in 24 hours or Less”.
What we did do was what I imagine
- Did work on it together / take turns on actual leaf blowing
- Did share the work / joint “leaf ownership”
- Talked very briefly about the strategies for moving a large number of leaves to a central location
- Got started by modeling some basic leaf blowing techniques
- In under 5 minutes had her actually leaf blowing on real-world leaves on an “active project”
- As we worked together I never even considered if we could increase productivity by getting a second leaf blower – then we could split up the leaf blowing tasks and work in isolation.
Why is it when, as professionals, we get a new member of a team or a new project, we don’t do what comes so naturally when we work with our kids on a new skill. All the basic strategies still work, and still work well. Once we get the idea that learning can only come from a book or a class, or worse yet – that our training or learning is the responsibility of anyone but ourselves, we really lose sight of the most natural and powerful models for learning. Learning is a continuous process of people working together, as a community, and sharing the knowledge and the load.
Great Post! I think I find most often that the answer to your question is that most managers/owners see out of their asses (Oops I mean their wallets). It is like they are buying a rental property and instead of fixing it up properly and planning for longevity and getting the highest possible monthly rate (ROI) they’d rather rent it out right away and deal with problems that come with that along the way. Thanks for the thought provoking post!
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I think I find most often that the answer to your question is that most manager see out of their wallets
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