03 - Success Criteria and The Biggest Obstacle to Learning (IMPORTANT)

I'm going to be presenting you with some information and some concepts.  You'll get the opportunity to apply them in such a way that might be unusual to what you've normally done as the status quo.

I want to introduce to you the two phrases that are the largest killers of learning that I've come across when in a learning environment.

The first one is "I disagree" and the second one is "I already know that."

Those two statements may be true... and if we were in a production environment where we were actually applying the same thing over and over again on the production and then those two phrases would be absolutely applicable... because in a production environment "I disagree" and "I already know that" are valuable statements because we need to just work at the task at hand.

A production environment is not the place to be introducing new concepts. That's why we're here; this is a learning environment. This is an environment where #1 it's OK to say "I disagree but I'm going to pay attention anyway." And  #2, it's also ok to say "I already know that and I'm gonna listen to it from a different perspective."

The next question that I'd have for anyone who says "I disagree" or "I already know that" is: "okay, if you already know that, then what are the results that you're getting from applying that?" And a lot of times people who already know something discover that they're not actually applying it... and so that brings us to the next question which is: "what is learning?"

Surely learning has something to do with knowledge, but is it actually the acquisition of knowledge or is it the application of knowledge?

Well from my perspective coming in here and teaching you what I've learned about gathering testimonials throughout my life, learning is a change in behavior, especially adult learning. We go in with one set of beliefs and one way of doing business, we have an open mind and we're introduced to new concepts and new ways of doing things.... And at the end of the day, we say: "I'm going to modify my behavior of how I do these tasks, because I believe that these changes are going to benefit me."

That's behavior change. I ask you to go into this course with an open mind about what there is to be learned here. I'm not saying that you should use all of these techniques, but there may be some points that make you say: "you know what I'm going to pick and choose this particular aspect of what I learned in this training and I'm going to modify the way that I currently operate. That's going to improve what I do and the outcomes I achieve."

If you go into a training from the start hearing something new and say "I disagree" or "I already know that,"  it shuts off your mind to any future learning or application of that learning that you might have. So thank you for listening to that. This is really important to me. The reason that this is important to me from this perspective is: I used to be that guy... I used to be that guy who said "yeah you know I really know this."

"Yeah, I disagree. You're wrong!” And I was trying to think that you're smarter than the instructor or think that because you know one piece of information or because I knew one specific piece of information differently or perhaps in more detail than the instructor that therefore everything that they were talking about was redundant or not applicable.

And that really held me back for a long time. So, I want to share that with you right now because I want to shortcut your learning for you. I want to show you what has worked in a variety of different environments and with different people from varied backgrounds and in varied situations.

Some of the interviews that I have been doing have been with people who are disaster victims, while they're still in a shelter. So these are not all people who have had entirely positive experiences who, have won the lottery or something like that and are just they have nothing negative to say. These are people who have very interesting experiences that they've undergone, and getting that information out of them is invaluable oftentimes not only to them but a lot of times as valuable to the organization.


Many people make this mistake when they give testimonials or when they ask for testimonials:

They only ask for the positive information. There's a huge difference between a testimonial interview and actually producing the testimonial video that you end up showing to the public when you're actually in the interview.

It's extremely powerful to talk about the good and the bad... because when you take that back to the organization (or if you're doing it for yourself or if you're doing it for another individual) hearing about those areas where people could improve or people could do better or do something differently is extremely powerful.

Here's how I like to set that up:

Oftentimes interviewers shy away from any question about what went wrong or what could be better. Here's how I like to set that up with this very softball question. I'll say it like that especially if I'm doing an interview for somebody else say: "so you know I'm doing this interview because XYZ organization wants to improve. And so in your interaction with them when I review this is there anything that I should be taking back to them that you'd like to let them know about how they could have handled the situation differently or what they could do better in the future?"

And that question right there, generally speaking, opens up a floodgate. So the general format of the question is what could we be doing differently or what could we be doing better? A variant of this is: “what was missing or what would you like to see more or less of.” any variant like that is is going to, generally speaking, open up a floodgate with the person that you're talking to.

And a lot of times what I've noticed even as I said in these situations when people are in a shelter when they've lost their home after a fire or a natural disaster or something like that they'll start off with what the organization could be doing better but then what I've noticed is they will loop back around to what was done positively.

A lot of times, without any really leading questions, they'll they'll come back around themselves... And so you just let them go with that question it's an extremely powerful question. So from that perspective, I realize we started off with learning talking about learning and talking about my goals for the course here. But one thing that I would just like to point out is that there is huge power and huge impact in testimonials and being able to sit and hold space and connect with a person is a skill that not only do I believe can be taught but I believe can be mastered by a lot of different people and that's it.

That skill is hugely powerful not only in your own life but also from the perspective of helping other people or other organizations to achieve what they want to achieve. A lot of times when you're sitting with a person providing that space for them to give a safe and comfortable interview... and they'll open up about things that are either really good, or potentially need a lot of improvement that they never reveal in a survey.

They feel important, they feel like they're being listened to... and a lot of times what I've discovered is that when you're doing these testimonial interviews, when you're doing these case study interviews that's the first time that this person really feels like they've ever been listened to regarding this particular topic that we're talking about.

And sometimes... I hate to say it but this is kind of sad... I've gotten comments to that people will say this is the first time I really have felt listened to in a while or even in their life. I just sit think about that when I hear it. The power to connect with somebody while conducting an interview for some organization and they open up and share with you. That's a big responsibility.

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