Almost every workshop I conduct for and speaking engagement I lead starts with a group discussion around this question. Answers are charted and discussed. Once the chart is hung on the wall for all to see, we can start to look at ourselves through this lens and identify two things:
- What are we doing to support this hoped-for perception?
- What are we doing that’s preventing us from reaching it?
Here’s an example: I recently presented a session called, Engaging Learners in the Orderly Conversation, to a group of highly engaged learning professionals at a local ATD chapter. The chart we made included a lot of great words, but the two that spoke the loudest to this group were “respected” and “relevant.”
The conversation that day eventually turned to the use of icebreakers. The group was fairly evenly split. Some love icebreakers, others didn’t. There was passion on both sides of the argument. Eventually, I asked the group if they thought the use of icebreakers supported their goals of being respected and relevant. As expected, one half said “No,” and the other half said “Yes.”
Eventually someone said, “Only if the icebreaker supports the learning and is relevant to the group.” Finally, the group was in agreement.
When I work with trainers, instructional designers, and other practitioners working in talent development, I encourage them to scrutinize everything. I remind them that every module they develop, every exercise and facilitated discussion, and everything they do and say with organizational leaders and training participants needs to support their goals. If they don’t, they should be tossed out or restructured.
Making these changes is a difficult thing for people to do. It’s hard to let go of long-held beliefs, habits, and industry trends, but sometimes it’s necessary.