Have you ever heard the statement, “The teacher learns more than his students”? For over 30 years, I have been teaching high school boys at my church. And I’ve been surprised by how much I have learned just in my preparation time, and how much I’ve retained–long after the lesson is taught. And the same holds true for business: more engagement means more learning.
As I write blog posts, like this one, I continue to be amazed by how much I learn by just writing it. The process of writing forces me to identify and explain why our business was so successful at producing extraordinary profits.
Training our people was an important part of our business, and we monitored its effectiveness. In fact, our chief operating officer would often say, “Training has not occurred until behaviors have changed.”
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
I love the way that old Ben could distill truth down to a simple statement.
It is interesting how well we learn from the things that happen to us – our experiences. Our knowledge and our abilities are largely determined not by our IQ or some other fixed measure of intelligence, but by the effectiveness of our learning process – in the experiences of participative learning.
What if we could lead by leveraging the fundamental truth of “involve me and I learn”? Well, I’ve got good news for you! I’m about to share one of the best ways for your organization to learn, and it involves a participative leadership style that I call Engage2Lead. Specifically, we’ll look at how to employ the 1-2-3 leadership tool.
What is 1-2-3?
1-2-3 is a unique approach to the decision-making and goal-setting process defined as:
At the very beginning of the decision-making process— AND before making a decision – the empowering leader seeks input from his or her employees. Such a leader asks:
1. Who can help me make a better decision?
2. Who will have to carry it out?
3. Who will be impacted by it?
The 1-2-3 approach reminds leaders to involve their people as appropriate when making important decisions and setting goals.
By doing so, every leader can develop a more effective and efficient TEAM by asking these three simple questions that bring consistently better results while maintaining and enhancing relationships.
How should 1-2-3 be used?
1-2-3 is not a process that you pull off the shelf and dust off for use every once in a while.
Rather it should be part of your organization’s culture and used often and in a variety of situations.
When a change, idea, opportunity or problem facing you is “big”, it is best to engage your TEAM over a period of time through a series of meetings.
A good 4-step approach is to:
1. Start with a meeting to expose your TEAM to the change, idea, opportunity or problem and then give them some time to let the information “incubate”.
2. Pull them together again and ask for and record their input about things to consider and what suggested decision to make.
3. Frame a decision and meet with your TEAM to review, help “tweak” and “buy in” to the decision.
4. Have the TEAM review the “final” decision to see if there are any more ideas for improving it.
And don’t forget to include customers and suppliers in the 1-2-3 process when it makes sense.
Many times their input/feedback is important as you consider adding new services or goods to your product mix, make changes in your operating schedules, or change how your organization provides services, etc.
Remember: This is not decision-making by a committee. You, as the leader, must still decide to make the final decision.
“Give me a fish and I eat for a day. Teach me to fish and I eat for a lifetime.”
Ben Franklin was right, everyone learns when you involve your TEAM in the decision-making process.
How have you best learned? Would you agree that more engagement means more learning? Are you ready to use the 1-2-3 tool? Please leave a comment <here> and share this blog post with family, a friend, or co-worker.