Friday, September 30, 2005

Sometimes the Best Way to Learn is to Teach

We completed a new class at Verity yesterday, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Based on the book by Dr. Stephen Covey, the class is designed for participants to explore individual priorities and interpersonal communication. It’s a cool program because I get the sense that each participant walks away with a personal connection to the concepts delivered. The impetus to offer this came last year, when I was trying to figure out a quality program that anyone at our credit union could benefit from. I realized at the time that we were gearing a lot our training towards the frontline staff. That’s not wrong, however, our vision is to become one of the 10 best places to work and I wanted other staff to feel like they had access to training and development opportunities.
The class proved to be a valuable teaching tool for me as well. Because this was a new program, I held the group for an extra half hour each day to ask for feedback about the pacing, logistics, and set up. The quality of feedback surprised me. (I’m used to evaluations that rate everything “great” with comments that say something like “more candy would be nice” or “the room was cold”). This group talked about the effectiveness of certain activities, timing needs for individual work, and a myriad of other factors that contribute to a dynamic class. It reminded me of Habit 6-Synergize…where 1 + 1 = 3. Meaning, the feedback they provided was far better than was I would have evaluated on my own, or even with another trainer. Very cool.
Going over the 7 Habits again also reminded me of my own paradigms; especially those that I tend to get stuck in. The previous week I was frustrated at my inability to get results on a couple key projects. Notice the language on that last sentence…had it been last week I would have said, “why am I so exhausted?” or “how come I don’t have more time?” or “how come this is so hard?” It is so easy sometimes to focus on the circumstances I have no control over. This class was a good reminder for me to stay grounded in my values and focus on those things I can influence. Choosing my response. Being proactive. Living the 7 Habits.
Very, very cool.

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