Feed Me, Seymour
To learn better we need specific feedback to help us pause, adjust, and try again. But what actually makes for feedback that effectively helps someone improve? After all, providing and responding to feedback can be tricky, and thinking through effective feedback is an extremely nuanced process. According to Khatera Sahibzada’s article for Fast Company, our brains are wired to perceive feedback as negative, even if it’s constructive, since we read feedback as something dangerous. Sahibzada suggests that we consider these areas before we give feedback: is it true, necessary, and kind? Asking ourselves these three questions can help us deliver more thoughtful feedback. Fast Company also suggests avoiding the “praise sandwich,” which is when criticism is bookended by unhelpful compliments, often done to cushion or soften the perceived blow of critical feedback. Instead, clearly pointing out what works and what doesn’t, and posing critiques as questions that empower people to take responsibility instead of giving a command are ways to give constructive feedback. Finally, nonverbal cues are key, particularly demonstrating empathy through eye contact, tone of voice, and full attention. The next time you have feedback to give, it may be worth taking a moment to consider how you are delivering it.
Listen: Face to Face
In the Snapchat age, have we lost our ability to effectively interact with others face-to-face? The sheriff’s office of Spokane, Washington certainly believes that using social media as a primary source of communication has negatively affected millennials’ conversation skills. Having the ability to read a situation and speak with the public are critical for the police. As a result, the sheriff’s office sends new recruits to “remedial people-skills” training, where they must walk around a mall and a bus station and attempt to talk to strangers about anything from sports to the weather. Their interactions are recorded, and training officers review body language, conversational styles, eye contact, ability to adapt according to the situation, and small gestures. This feedback is then shared with the recruits to help them improve. Seems like these cops could use some Practice!
Eye of the Tiger
What are the biggest challenges facing learning & development right now? We know that continuous learning is crucial within organizations, especially to stay ahead of the curve and retain employees, but leaders want to see results, namely ROI and measurable business results. However, less than 10 percent actually see either one, which means L&D often has difficulty getting funding. In addition to a lack of budget and demonstrating ROI, according to LinkedIn Learning’s recent Workplace Learning report, L&D leaders also struggle with small L&D teams and their employees lacking time to actually take advantage of L&D programs. So what can L&D leaders do? The Workplace Learning report indicates that it comes down to measuring performance, namely the following: 1) Retention or promotion of people who use voluntary learning programs, 2) Managerial effectiveness, and 3) The amount of outside consultants needed. The report highlights these metrics and others that L&D leaders can use to show CEOs the business impact of their programs.
Faster Than a Speeding Bullet
Is learning faster better? Many of us listen to podcasts or watch videos at an accelerated speed to save ourselves time. Does this hinder how much information we absorb? Not according to recent studies, which showed that people listening at 1.5x the speed still understood just as much as those listening at 1x. In fact, “video is even more amenable to speedup, because the visual and audio cues reinforce one another.” Essentially, learning this way is a form of skimming. This acceleration does not come without caution. The research suggests that moderate acceleration may not hurt comprehension, but it does not account for the impact on the application of the knowledge being absorbed, nor how it will affect the ways we engage with artistic material that is meant to be absorbed at a slower pace.
Research indicates that when learning is deliberate and focused on developing potential, employees are engaged and companies prosper. But, any seasoned executive or learning leader can testify that creating this type of learning environment is not always as simple as it sounds. However, based on our work with clients and partners in a variety of different learning environments, we have distilled the key elements needed to make learning deliberate and help your employees reach their full potential so your organization can thrive. It starts with creating a practice-driven culture: an environment where every member is always learning, engaged in personal growth, empowered to help others grow by offering constructive feedback, and attaining expertise by continuously honing and expanding skills. We explore the key elements that define a practice-driven culture and how organizations can empower learners to develop the confidence and competence they need to reach their full potential. Read the full article here.