We Cannot Learn To Fly On A Weekend!


Imagine seeing an advertisement on a social media site or email flyer promising to teach you how to fly on just one weekend.  How many of you would jump at the chance to be the first passenger of a graduate of that weekend course knowing their experience level was one weekend in a classroom learning about how to fly?  That would be crazy, wouldn't it?  Yet tragically, we are all suckers to try the "Get Rich, Famous, and Successful Quick" schemes in almost every area of life.

I have been persuaded by my close friends and family to embark into a whole new world this year.  It will involve me learning to "fly" in a different kind of craft.  It's called the world of social media.  I would love to be able to buy something at the software store like Best Buy, and then plug it in, and Shazam! I'd have a whole plan for how to use the web base tools to get out to a waiting public much of what 70 years of life's experiences has brought me to realize.  Just like the microwave, it would all be done, and I could serve it up to the people who want to know very quickly.  

Unfortunately, developing new skills just does not happen that way.  However, my aim is to slowly put on the internet a series of blogs and videos outlining the "IMPACT! How to Make a Positive Difference" book I wrote in the hope it will resonate with people who truly do want to make a positive difference as leaders in their own world.

I intend to devote 2017 to unpacking a far better way to learn to fly, lead, and develop lasting behavioral change in our lives by using a fundamentally practical and usable way of learning and developing.  It's called the Cycle of Experiential Development which I describe in detail in Chapter one of IMPACT!.

I first heard of the Cycle of Development as it was called then back in the 1980's.  I was going through a development and training program with the Dale Carnegie Organization to become one of their regional managers and instructors.  Sherman Brown, the owner of  the Dale Carnegie Franchise for the United Kingdom was teaching us how to sell the Dale Carnegie programs and convince businesses to invest in their people.  The unique selling point for Dale Carnegie was not the content of the programs, but the way it was conducted.  Rather than "sheep dip" as Sherman would say, participants into one-off events and expect them to change or behave differently, the methodology involved taking our clients through bite-sized modules of how-to topics, gaining commitment to try something new, and then checking up on their experiences the next time the group got together.  This may sound quite sensible, yet back then, almost all motivational training was delivered in intense, one or two day events crammed with content to fill our minds with fresh thoughts, but little time spent in gaining buy-in to do anything differently, and no time at all devoted to reviewing what the attendees did differently afterwards.

Of course, much of motivation and developmental training of the multibillion dollar talent development industry still conducts seminars and events this way despite the evidence that these conferences are not the best way to get organizations and people to change.  Even in the coaching industry we hold Fall Conferences and annual intense two or three day events expecting us to pay hard earned money to "Transform Our Future".  The training effect of these events is real -- almost everyone of us goes away on a high, with the best intentions to put at least some of the ideas and techniques into practice.  I have a shelf full of the books and CD's purchased from these events, yet hand on heart, even with the best intentions in the world, most of it remains there collecting dust.  We just do not need more how-to's to make us more successful, fulfilled, stronger, etc.  We cannot learn to fly in a weekend!