My youngest, along with 20 of his classmates, is on his way to the Museum today for a Field Trip. He’s been so excited for this day to come, the anticipation has been fun to watch ~ and why not be excited? For at least one day, everyone’s schedule is cleared. Piled onto buses, they are allowed to remove themselves from school, “travel” to a different place, and learn something fun & exciting with their peers.
Field trips are the perfect combination of work and play. Learning is disguised as adventure, experience is acquired via fun. On a normal school day, my kids give me next to nothing in response to “what did you learn today?” On field trip day, you can’t shut ‘em up. It’s a given that by 6pm this evening, I will know considerably more about the flora and fauna preferred by the Paluxysaurus jonesi.
When was your last field trip? For a great deal of people, the higher you ascend in the organization, the less likely you are to concern yourself with personal development. Chances are, the majority of all professionals who attend training (includes seminars, executive education, workshops, etc.) do so when told to attend training.
Need certification credits? Here are your options. Need to burn your training budget before year-end? Here are your options. Need to develop a weakness in your performance? How about develop yourself as a future leader of the organization? Here’s your class, have fun.
To clarify, this is not the fault of the corporation. Your development is your responsibility. “Knowledge which is acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on the mind.” (Plato) That’s right, I’m going Greek on you. The learning that sticks is the learning that comes from a subject that engages you before the course begins. Simply put, we will find other priorities for our time and energy when the subject matter is not of interest to us. We have become accustomed to a 24/7 work-cycle, so the thought of dedicating eight precious hours to another round of “DiSC” or “Finance for non-Financial Managers” is not one which encourages our active participation. Give me something I can use.
There is no substitute for self-awareness. Find your field trips.
(Oh….bring a sack lunch.)
John “Whit” Whitaker is Vice President at Pritchett LP, and Founder of the HR Hardball™ movement…I’ll trade you my carrot sticks for a Twinkie.
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