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Frances Ferguson

Glasstap Ltd

Training Design Manager

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Mummy, why is the sky such a bad colour?


It’s a curious national obsession isn’t it – what the weather means to us that day? Is it a glorious addition to a lovely day? Or does it leave our mood damp, defeated & prone to irritation? Do we struggle to see this green & pleasant land? Or does our heart soar with the majestic beauty of the landscape that fills our vision?

I was reflecting on this very conundrum, when after what’s felt like a never-ending winter, there came a day this week where the clouds dissipated, the sky gained a beautiful blue hue & the sun tinged the day with just the right amount of warmth.

Suddenly everything felt right in the world, the landscape that bit more amazing & yesterday’s problems now simply today’s exciting challenges.

It was a day where I was reminded by the wonderful Melanie Palmer of Loud & Clear Communications of the famous story of the competition between Mr Wind & Mr Sun. The story where each tried to prove that they were more powerful than the other; each certain that they were capable of the greater influence on the behaviour of humans.

So a challenge was set, a man identified; Mr Wind knew without doubt he had the power to remove this little man’s hat, scarf & even his coat.

So Mr Wind tried, tried & tried again to blow them off. Yet with every mighty gust of wind, the man just wrapped his outer-garments ever tighter; determined to stay warm despite the onslaught to the wind.

So out stepped Mr Sun & he simply beamed; sharing his warmth with the world. What happened next? The temperature gradually rose; first the scarf was unwound, then the hat tugged off & finally, he flung off his coat; all with a smile on his face.

It was the difference between defending your position & welcoming a new way of seeing the world. It’s the difference between refusing to see why you need to change & welcoming a different way of approaching life with open arms.

In telling the story, Melanie reminded me so skilfully of what makes for great training. Are we making our learners defensive, holding on to their coat, scarf & hat with everything in their power? Or do they feel that exuberance that the first sunny day of Spring can bring?

It doesn’t matter how powerful our message, how wise our words, if people feel defensive they will act that way too.

How much more powerful if we focus on opening up a world of possibilities for our learners? How much more exciting if we make them go “Wow! I really want to do this”? How much more likely to succeed if our learners are like the man on the street when the sun bestowed his warmth on and make the decisions to change for themselves?

Thanks Melanie, for picking a wonderful sunny day for giving me such a great reminder.

Author Profile Picture
Frances Ferguson

Training Design Manager

Read more from Frances Ferguson

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