A few months ago, I was challenged with the task of defining our
companys core beliefsnot the what of what we do, but the
why. I watched a fascinating video on TED.com by Simon
Sinek, How great leaders inspire action.
The lecture discussed the importance of identifying the how and why
of what people and organizations do. Sinek asks, Why do you get out
of bed in the morningand why should anyone care?
Watching the video numerous times yielded a list of beliefs. Some
simple, some inspiring, some a bit controversial, and some maybe
Before reading the rest of this article, take a couple of minutes
to ponder your answers to the following questions:
- What do you believe in?
- What is the purpose of your role as a learning leader?
- Why do you do what you do? And why should anyone care?
The following is my list of beliefs for our company.
that to educate means to draw
out. The Latin word educare is translated as to draw out.
For many learning professionals, this is a radical idea. Most
training is more about putting in information than it is about
drawing out. But for our company (DrawSuccess) we believe in this
oft-forgotten approach. Instead of teaching, we learn from (or draw
out) the learning from the participants in our classes.
that learning not only can be
fun; it must be fun. Wow. What a concept. Fun mandatory?
Absolutely. Fun ensures engagement. It creates a safer environment
for opening up and sharing. It keeps the energy flowing. It
solidifies retention with an emotional anchor. It builds
relationships. And its simply more enjoyablefor the facilitator as
well as the participants.
your employees are an untapped
wealth of knowledge. Inside every organization there is a
goldmine of intelligence, experience, and information. So, instead
of giving them more information, how about creating programs to tap
this incredible wealth of knowledge? The result can be remarkable
ideas and solutions for your organization. New products, improved
processes, and solutions for overcoming obstacles are just a few of
people can solve their own
problems, if given the right tools. Which is more
empowering: a manager who tells you what to do or a leader who
empowers you to solve your own problems? In which situation are you
more likely to retain what you learned? The key is to have the
right program, product, or process that creates an environment for
the solution for diversity and
inclusion is facilitating open discussion. In the training
world, diversity and inclusion is a specialized area, often
comprised of dos and donts to adhere to specific legal
requirements. But isnt it more likely to be true that dissention
comes from lack of understanding than lack of knowledge? Creating a
safe forum for opening up discussion is a much more effective way
of producing an environment with awareness and acceptance.
the way to sustainable results
is through ownership. Which class would be more
interesting? One where an expert lectures on the qualities of an
effective leader, or one where a facilitator asks the question and
opens up discussion with participants, who come up with a
definition they can all agree on? And which program would you be
more enthusiastic about: one that was given to you, or own you
helped co-create? When an idea is yours, you own it. And when you
own it, you take action on it.
in building a culture of
accountability. How do you define accountability? How do
your colleagues define it? Accountability, like beauty, is often in
the eye of the beholder. To one person, it may mean keeping
commitments. To another it may be defined as equal contribution.
And to another it relates to behaviors like accepting
responsibility or treating others with respect. Therefore, the
rules of engagement regarding accountability must be clear and
uniformly accepted, and part of an organizations culture. And while
organizational development experts may suggest that it takes years
to change a culture, I disagree, because Ive seen it happen in a
miraculously short period of time.
training without results is
like a race without a finish line. If you were the CEO of
your company, what would be your primary objective? Maximizing
shareholder value by achieving the goals of the organization,
right? If you failed to get results, you would be replaced. So, it
should be no surprise that the chief executive of your organization
is looking for the same levels of measurement from the training
department. The most meaningful results are ones that can be
measured by either topline sales or bottom-line profit. Keeping
this in mind will make sure your training is adding quantifiable
value to the organization.
We believe the first and most crucial step
is to know yourself. Platos simple creed, Know thyself,
speaks volumes. Everything we hear, learn, and do is filtered by
our own perceptions. Unless we know and understand these filters,
we can never really learn anything new, and we certainly wont
effectively change our behavior. In this time of New Years
resolutions, we need to first be aware of why we engage in
the behaviors we want to change before we can have any hope of
keeping these commitments.
training must be experiential
to have a lasting effect. As learning leaders, we all know
the importance of engaging the five learning styles: auditory,
kinesthetic, visual, metacognitive, and social or emotional. To
lock-in the learning, integrate all five styles into an experience
where the participants are directly involved and able to reflect,
conceptualize, and analyze and then make decisions and plans based
on this experience.
in innovation at all
levels. Ideas can come from anywhere and everywhere.
Mailroom attendants can have incredible ideas for new products.
Shop workers may be able to save the company significant money. And
store clerks may hold the solution to the problems that are keeping
your organization from achieving greatness. I say may, because
unless there is an interesting, safe, and engaging way to prompt
these ideas, either they could be lost forever or move on to your
we can change the world! The other day I explained to an
influential business leader that my companys mission statement is
to change the world in a fun and profitable way. His first reaction
was a slight rolling of his eyes. He said people wont change unless
they want to change. Of course, hes right. Or is he? I responded by
telling a story of a man who started a day with defiance and
self-righteousness and ended the day with a profound self-awareness
and commitment to change his life. (Which he didmuch to the
surprise and delight of his co-workers). The goal of all training
is to change, dont you agree?
You can change the world. We all can. Believe it. Lets make 2012 is
the year of believing.
What do you believe in? We want to