I like that phrase ??? ???teachable moments???. As far as I can tell, there are many teachable moments in any given day, it???s whether you see them as those sorts of moments or not.
Yesterday, I had the chance to attend a talk on Leveraging Social Networking to Drive Performance. It was one of Towers Watson???s regular Leaders Seminar and I got chatting with Adam Wootton who presented the session. He is a very amiable person and clearly passionate about what he does. In his interesting lively talk, he mentioned ???teachable moments???. See, the problem we face in organisations these days and also with inter-generational communication, is that managers are very often finding it hard to communicate effectively with their team. Communicate ??? yes, we all do that via email, our blackberry, instant messaging, one way, two way etc. But whether that communication is really effective is really your guess. Many, it would seem, are not finding it so.
Adam talked about teachable moments and finding platforms that people already readily embrace as a way to do this. Interesting facts he mentioned :-
1. Did you know that the average age of the Facebook user is 37?
2. Gaming is more than the immersion stuff we see and read about. When we think of games, we tend to think of games like Second Life for example and kids spending hours huddled in a corner with breaks for a meal. But it appears that it is the over 30???s who are the biggest gamers. Games like Second Life fall into the immersion level ??? the highest level with many levels of gaming below that including things like online puzzles and sudoku.
Adam explained how one company, in their desire to communicate better and find ways to get their message across used user generated video. This is what they did. They got a handheld videocamera. They got all the senior management team to record some tips about how a good manager would behave and the sort of things he would do. Then, they passed the device to the employees. One by one, each was asked to share their own ideas on this point. Needless to say, one of the first things anyone would do, before they started recording, was to check out what the others had to say [teachable moment]. And then they recorded their input. And the camera was passed along. Then the managers organised a contest to see who had the best tips, so everyone had to review all the tips in order to make a selection [another teachable moment]. And the prize was the videocamera. Easy, cheap, effective.
They created situations where the message they wanted to get across did get across.
It was a fun, entertaining, get-all-in-the-group-excited-and-talking-about-it kind of thing to do.
It factored in situations where the message could be repeated and drilled in.
It made the employees feel good about themselves and their company ??? someone wanted their opinion. Everyone wants to feel valued.
There was a winner and a prize.
We tend to think that most of our endeavours need to be costly time-consuming affairs but it need not necessarily be so.
We think sometimes that we, as organisations or as leaders, know best. That may be, but you have at your disposal, an entire organisation, a group of diverse people whose ideas you could tap into. Some may work and some may not. But you won???t know that if you don???t do anything about it.
They come from different backgrounds, they hold different positions to you and they have different life experiences. Why is not possible that they may have good ideas that you can put to use or that they may have thought of something that you didn???t?
What???s to lose and what???s to be gained?