Recognize Learning Styles or Fail to Communicate



How many snowflakes do you think fall in a cubic inch of snow? How many snowflakes would exist in a one-inch depth snow covering one geographical US state? Further then, how many snowflakes would exist in a one-inch depth snow covering the entire continental US? Do you realize that scientists suggest every snowflake that falls is unique from all others?

Now let's consider people.

Corporations, in order to manage employee records, ordinarily assign a unique employee ID to each and every employee whether past, present or future. People ordinarily receive their own unique phone number, computer with unique MAC addresses, and I.P. address as well. Though there may be a dress code, each person shows up dressed according to what they own, their budget, and personal style (or lack therein). If we put ten people in the room, whether from the same family or department, there will be like characteristics between all of them, but they will be primarily unique and different in most every way. Sounds like the diversity of snowflakes doesn't it?

Now let's consider processes within corporations.

Many times we see third party 'process groups', or simply some third party group with an opinion, identifying the method of doing some form of work. Kind of funny sometimes, amazingly frustrating other times, and every once in a while .. just plain ridiculous. I hold to the idea that no one knows how to do the work or improve the work better than the person doing the work. I may be the only person with this opinion, but oblige me for a moment. Is there only one way to make a sandwich? How about mowing the grass, birthing a child, edifying your team, or otherwise congratulating someone on a job well done? Interestingly, how many times do corporations buy a process framework and some associated tools and attempt implementing it 'as is' and then calling everything that doesn't match the framework a 'deviation'? How do we know the process itself isn't ironically a deviation from what the true workers really needed to get the job done? Oh, the pain of it all. While it makes sense to have a baseline approach, eliminating or otherwise precluding people from evolving the process as needed is anti-climatic and horrible, horrible leadership. Have a baseline. Allow the opportunity to evolve the baseline in a context driven manner. Truth be told by process zealots willing to be transparent, version 1.0 of any process framework is just the conversation starter as the real process hasn't yet been discovered. Processes are ordinarily context-driven when successfully applied; inhibitors when not.

Snowflakes. People. Processes.

Given the unique diversity of so many things in life, is it any surprise that one method of doing anything simply doesn't work in all situations or for all people? Should we really be surprised that 4 year old children don't favor lecture? Should we be surprised that people who favor outdoor physical hobbies may hate sitting inside or in front of a computer, while indoor people may disfavor team-building field trips or physical activity? Have we noticed that some people respond to listening situations, while others favor reading, while yet others favor being given the problem and the opportunity to figure out a problem through trial and error? Did you ever notice in yourself whether you learn the most by watching an educational video, or listening to an audio message, reading the material, or simply jumping in and learning by doing in real-time? Did you notice if your team and company has a primary, secondary or mixed bag of understanding, learning and applying an idea?

So consider that when delivering a message, your success is defined not by your suit, haircut, freshly whitened teeth, or job title and role in the company...your success is wholly defined by the effortless ability of each individual on the receiving end of your message to repeat it in the hallway and operationally execute against it later in the day, week, month and quarter. To do this, your message must be crafted for the lowest common denominator on the receiving end of any message ever delivered in past or future history - the very unique, very important individual.