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Frances Ferguson

Glasstap Ltd

Training Design Manager

Read more from Frances Ferguson

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Excellence is 3D


We've all been there, whether it is a movie, a book or even a training session - we hear other people talking about it afterwards & wonder if they have just had the same experience we had? We wonder what it was that they saw that passed us by? What it was that created those strong emotions that simply do not reflect how we are feeling now?

Sometimes we debate, other times we simply smile at the differences in our experiences, or maybe we we feel left out and suppress our thoughts, but the most enlightening is when we ask & then listen to the other persons experience and are able to learn from it. We may not agree, but we can understand.

A great exercise I have seen in training is to draw a 3D house on a flip chart & then draw little stick men looking at different parts of the house; maybe one is sat on a roof, another looking out of the upstairs window, another is round the side & someone else is gazing at the front door. Then ask the delegates to describe the house from the perspective of each of these stick men.

The results are as simple as they are enlightening - our perception of reality is directly impacted by how we view the situation.

I know that my perceptions are based on my own experiences, values and priorities; or in other words, how I prefer to think changes how I do my job, interact with others & solve the problems I face. 

The reality is that for you, me & everyone else our challenge is to make sure we don't spend time looking for evidence that we are right, rather find out why others may not share the same viewpoint.

I recently had a great conversation with a HR Director, whom I admire greatly, but she completely shocked me when she said that she did not believe that L&D professionals were leaders; that they were there to develop people, but not lead them.

My instinct was to argue, to dispute, to say she was wrong. But instead I listened. In doing so I began to understand why she felt that; I did not agree, but I did know why she felt that.

It made me realise that whilst we all form our opinion on what 'great' looks like, unless we hold up a mirror & see our world as others see it, we can only know what our 'great' looks like. Yet others will only see us as 'great' when we have delivered to them what they are looking for from us.

So what is the solution when we have something we care passionately about? What can we do to make others see the world as we do?

We do need to listen, absolutely. But we also need to use that insight; we need to be prepared to enter into the debate, to influence hearts and minds so they can understand our perception. We cannot do this without knowing their priorities, but we cannot do it without sharing ours also.

I started this piece by saying excellence was in 3D because I believe that to be truly brilliant it must look brilliant, whatever perspective it is viewed from. So I will end with the excellent quote from John Quincy Adams that made the HR Director smile & nod in agreement:

"If your actions are to inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more & become more, you are a leader."

Author Profile Picture
Frances Ferguson

Training Design Manager

Read more from Frances Ferguson

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