From almost the first day of school a line was drawn: book or people. Some of us are life-long learners. We take courses online and in universities. Give us a book and a test and life is good.
Some of us learn to read the crowd. We have Ph.D.’s in the masses. We can read a group or an individual and know what they are going to do, sometimes before they do.
We are taught that we have to make a choice. Ever wonder why we let the herd position us into having only two choices? Books or people? Why do we have to choose between the two?
Personally, the system doesn’t work for me.
Love studying and love people. Can’t get enough of either subject. Hey are they really subjects? I know I’ve been called many things in my life. Not sure if subject really feels right, from the people part of my mind.
Yesterday I took my team to a team building/leadership class. It was important enough that I closed the entire clinic for the day.
Were we having problems?
No. Don’t ever go for help to a place that can’t help themselves. They are confused and they lack if not integrity, then the ability to do what they preach. Clinics are a place where patients are mentored back to a state of health in which they are charged to maintain it. If the clinic you go to can’t lead themselves (long wait times, rude staff) then there is very little chance you, the detail to them, is not going to get lost in the shuffle.
No, my clinic was not having problems. We went to refine our skill set. We went to learn and re-learn some materials so that we as a group can reach out and deal more effectively with ourselves and our patients.
The speaker got up. I split my mind into two. The first part went over the course: good materials, good sources. I was happy.
The second part of my mind studied the presenter. Right off the bat he made a joke, how many of you are here because you were forced to be or told to be? More than half of the audience raised their hands. I looked at my staff. They looked at me. We started laughing.
Problem here: Why did he choose that example? I wondered what part of him didn’t want to be here?
As he went on, he made a joke about the poor quality of his hotel, the long hours and bad pay. He said it didn’t matter because he loved what he did. I get it, trying to bridge a gap. I gave him that one. He was trying to find common ground with the audience.
Or was there another thing happening?
Within 20 minutes another reference to bad hotels and pay. Hmm, strike two. Now I know why he made that opening joke. He is very unhappy with his pay, his travel schedule, his hotels, etc.
As part of the audience I was wondering why he worked for such a crummy organization if he had valuable information to teach?
Crossroads. How many of us have been in this situation? We’ve paid for a class and the presenter’s issues are interfering with the information we are seeking?
How about an internal conversation? Decision tree time: throw the baby out with the bath water or find what I can and make it useful?
The people part of my mind identified him as a soul sucker. What could he possibly offer?
The mind steps in and says, quite a bit, actually.
In between jokes about his pay and long hours on the road we covered some great works by Maslow, the boss as coach, boosting morale through relationships not trust-falls (whoever came up with that idea is a genius marketer, because they seemed to be everywhere and I have yet to meet the person who said, until my group caught me I just couldn’t trust them. . . gasp), using creativity to solve problems instead of platitudes, self-analysis, etc.
While everyone was on breaks I was still on the job, watching the people. The range of complaints ranged from the job that brought them there, to audience members (me? I guess when I said the worse outcome of an HR meeting is assault, I stepped on some toes), to the presenter. One lady said, as the break was ending, two hours to go.
In my mind I wondered what was so pressing at home. Television? Kids? What?
I got back to my group and checked in. They were busy going over the section on self-empowered teams. How they saw themselves in that role and how it applied to tomorrow’s day.
We went through the class and I focused on my outcome. I came there to learn how to work better as a group member of a clinic. I didn’t care if the audience or the presenter were driving me crazy.
You know what would have driven me crazy? Going home the same way I came.
I finished the class with a question to the instructor: Why do you continue to work for a company you resent? I haven’t gotten a reply, yet.
In other words, when we make a choice and we know the benefits wouldn’t it make more sense to use both sides of your brain to extract every last bit of knowledge available? Why wouldn’t we separate the good from the bad and get what we need to learn?
The next time you go somewhere to learn break out that big melon of yours. Use all sides of it. There are academic and social parts of the brain hungry for knowledge. Put them together. Let them party.
Each day is an opportunity to break new ground.
Learn new things.