The dreaded garage sale. Is it really worth spending a whole weekend cleaning out closets, attics, basements, along with the actual garage, to reap the “reward” of spending another whole weekend sitting in the driveway dickering over fifty cents on the price of a set of sheets? I think not. Really, the last thing I want to spend my valuable time on is negotiating prices of nick-nacks with the little old lady from two blocks over. Really? Does she need my son’s old disco ball that badly?
What I did find however, was a comfortable sense of accomplishment from de-cluttering my life. I can now walk into my storage closet without fear of being entombed by the boxes of long-forgotten keepsakes that are no longer worth keeping. In the end, I have to admit, it was worth the stress on my back, the stress on my emotions, and the stress on my mind to dig through these boxes and put this sale together.
It also made me think about how we, as winning leaders, often times need to get uncomfortable in order to get comfortable with our own skill sets and the skill sets of our teams.
What I so often see in training sessions is that the facilitator is a peace keeper. They go through the presentation and keep everyone feeling safe and sound. They present information, maybe conduct one or two role-plays and then move on. There is no stretching of people…there is no leaving the comfort zone…there is no real growth.
We must rattle the cage a bit, put emotions a little on edge, and intentionally shift current paradigms. We must certainly remain professional, but we have to push people beyond their current identity and where they live in order for them to breathe the air of a new world. Real growth sessions spend more time on what is done and less on what is said. The facilitator really has to facilitate learning and not just talk about it.
Adult learners bring to the table a long, dynamic background of skills and knowledge, and unless they get stretched, their paradigms will not change and as a result, their behavior will not change.
If we really want to shift mindset and create long-lasting improvement, we need to look at how we train and develop people. It can’t just live in the classroom or online. Those educational areas provide only high-level, conceptual instruction. It must happen in the real world, everyday. Life-changing transformation only comes with one-on-one, face-to-face, challenging growth sessions. It has to involve working in close quarters for long periods of time with someone, having them practice a vital skill over and over again until they can perform it habitually, without thinking. If the desired skill set is truly “vital”, we have to treat it as such and completely ensure that the learner has learned it. There can be no doubt, it must be validated. Only then can we begin to feel good that we have done our job. The problem has been that this type of teaching takes time and an extraordinary amount of focused, challenging devotion.
We were all raised to be nice people and we all hate micromanaging, but it is only through this process, not of micromanagement, but actual management, that we will truly develop our teams and ourselves in the process. It may be uncomfortable…for us as well as for them…they may even dislike us for a short period of time, but the result will be much stronger, more effective and efficient performers. In the end, they may actually thank us for pushing them when they needed to be pushed, because as a result they will be exponentially stronger, happier, and much more comfortable.
Plus they won’t get buried by all of their own piles of past habits that were cluttering up their performance.