Russell Bishop, an Executive Coach and Performance Improvement Consultant relates a wonderful lesson he gained by playing a game at a workshop 40 years ago.
LESSON: The Universe Rewards Action, Not Thought
Bishop explains the game setup...
The puzzle in front of us required a combination of creative thinking and creative action. The exercise was set up so that other participants could provide feedback about problem solving moves but weren't allowed to talk. They could provide feedback in the form of positive encouragement, in this case, applause, when I actually picked up and moved one of the puzzle pieces and did so in a way that indicated a "directionally correct" move.
In this particular puzzle, there were dozens and dozens of possible moves, but only a handful which would lead to a solution -- moves which were directionally correct. I spent a great deal of time thinking about possible solutions while my feedback mechanism, other participants whom the seminar leader referred to as "my universe," remained observant and completely quiet. Absent of action on my part, they had nothing to reward, no feedback to provide.
The biggest problem I see with team and leadership development programs is that participants are not held accountable for taking action on a regular basis.
I've discovered that it is ACTION, taking on a regular basis, that distinquishes the true leaders. Far too many people are satified with enrolling in training and then sitting there passively, not taking any action. Distance learning is the worst for this because it's so easy to be passive.
I've been teaching the IATF Leader As Coach Fast Track Program since 2008 and I've learned that participants are way more likely to take action when the following is in place:
- Public declaration (promise) to the learning community to take action weekly (we call it "playing full out").
- Reporting weekly to an assigned study partner.
- Reporting weekly to a supervisor at work (or to an official accountability partner).
- Completing weekly progress notes which are read by your study partner and the instructor.
- One-on-one coaching weekly as needed (personal attention from instructor).
- Taking on a "Key Project" to be completed during the program. This project requires the participant to stretch and grow. Updates are provided weekly to the instructor, class, study partner, and supervisor.
- Instructor communicates weekly with the participant's supervisor, providing updates and answering any questions.
Taking action on a consistent basis is way more likely to happen when the above elements are in place. When people take consistent action the results are often remarkable.
How are you supporting those you serve to take action on a consistent basis?