Connect : Connect Magazine November 2012
best to resolve this problem directly, but it is possible, though not so easy, to arrange access in other ways. For example, identifying and using regularised social interaction times and access points – e.g. the pre-work settling-in time, morning and afternoon tea, lunch, special occasions, group events, etc. If there are none, create them yourself. Drop in at regular times for a friendly chat. Be seen to work late when you know others with problems are also working late, so as to be available if needed. You know it’s working when people respond by coming to your room to chat with you. This trust-relationship building is essential if you wish to apply the golden rule -- seize the teachable moment. Seize the teachable moment In my experience, counterparts are too busy to learn new stuff on any regular ‘time-out’ basis. They often do not have the luxury of sitting back and ‘learning by watching’. Even ‘learning by doing’, involving a threat of costly delays, and not getting the task done on time, is to be avoided. But there is no way that people learn by osmosis, by simply sitting next to someone else. Thus one must apply the golden rule: seize the teachable moment. Once this concept was introduced to me many years ago, it has remained my primary capacity building tool. It is based on recognition that teaching someone something when they have no immediate need of it, can be a waste of time. But to teach at the precise moment when they most need to learn is the golden opportunity for teaching something new, an opportunity, if not seized, may never come again. Thus it takes priority over whatever you happen to be doing at the time even if it feels all-important (not easy). If the requests happen all at once, queue them. Simply put, you wait to be asked. But you often won’t be asked if people are too afraid, or too shy, or just feel uncomfortable in doing so. Seizing the teachable moment is primarily a time investment, and this qualitative shift in role, when you put on the 'teacher hat' shouldn’t be abrogated lightly. When this approach becomes second nature you can sometimes sense the moment occurring before it happens, and ensure you are present and readily in a position to be asked. To seize the teachable moment, one must be available in all senses of the word. One must also withhold from giving into temptation to take over. Inherent in the approach is an absolute rejection of 'let me take over and do it for you' when someone has a diffculty, no matter how tempting this may be at times. Managers are taught that the things staff like to do most are the things they do best. Expanding the range of what people do best increases their capacity to expand their competencies, and perform a wider range of tasks. By increasing competencies in a broader range of areas that in turn open up new learning opportunities, people's capacity can best be built.
Connect Magazine July 2012 Edition
Connect Magazine March 2013