How to Unlock Purpose in 10 Minutes (or Less)

Free Assessment: Grit

Why Must Trainers Be Interesting?

Why is it important that trainers be interesting? I’m pretty sure we’ve all suffered, at one time or another, the indignity of having to listen to a boring teacher, professor, lecturer, instructor, or trainer drone on and on about something we probably needed to know—but never learned because the trainer wasn’t interesting.

Improve Your Decision Making

The key to improve your decision-making skills lies in your level of expertise and experience, but not for the reason you’re probably thinking of. Watch as Brett Dillon discusses how to Improve Your Decision Making further.

Listen to Your Students

Richard Feynman has been one of my heroes since my high school days.

He said, “I would rather have questions that can’t be answered than answers that can’t be questioned.” As a teacher, I’ve used that statement as a cornerstone of my teaching philosophy.

When my students ask me questions, I listen to them, I paint the question with the colors of their emotions, and I try to understand why they asked this question. Often I find it is caused by my poor explanation of the subject, sometimes it is because I delivered too much too soon, and rarely the question was caused by the student’s failure to pay attention, do their homework, read the text, etc.

I take the opportunity to refine my content on delivery; I use the feedback of their questions to improve my work.

I also listen to my students when they give me feedback. Recently a student gave me feedback on a course I teach—they were brutally honest and, I have to admit, absolutely correct. One of their colleagues attended the same course years ago and had described the experience to them prior to them showing up. Their expectations were not met because the delivered experience had changed. Why did we change the experience? Because we were forced to add three more exams to the course, which changed the nature of the delivery.

I’ve listened to them, however, and I’m working out a plan to restore the wonderful experience their colleague had while meeting the exam requirements. It’s a tough challenge, but I think it can (and should) be done.

I’ve worked for teaching organizations that didn’t listen to the students—it was painful to watch them ignore useful feedback because “we know what we’re doing”.

That attitude strikes at the cornerstone of my teaching philosophy, Feynman’s quote about having answers that can’t be questioned. If we don’t listen to our students, how can we improve our teaching to deliver the learning experience they need?

For more information about how the Dillon Group, Inc. can meet your training needs, visit our education practice.

How to Get Good

How Self-Improvement Adds Value to Others

Be Like Amundsen: Courage & Improvement

What’s the Process to Teach Someone Critical Thinking?

Critical Thinking

In a series of experiments conducted at the University of Virginia, researchers discovered most people would rather do anything but sit and think—with many subjects preferring electric shocks instead of thinking. If thinking is such a dreaded exercise, what’s the process to teach someone critical thinking?

I teach adults how to do jobs— also entrepreneurs, managers, and business leaders. The biggest challenge I have? How to deal with the problem produced by the industrialized educational system: it teaches kids what to think, not how to think, so the kids can pass standardized tests.

But this isn’t how the real world works. The real world is volatile, uncertain, chaotic, and ambiguous (VUCA) and there are no standardized answers to the challenges encountered. That’s where I come in…

We’ve developed a process that teaches adults critical thinking skills while teaching them how to do a job.

We ask them questions related to the job, but sequenced in a way that leads them through a critical thinking process.

Here’s our process:

  1. What is the job? We ask them to “help” us break down the job into the component parts.
  2. What do you know about the job? We ask them questions about the different parts of the job.
  3. How do these parts work together? These questions drive connections between the part tasks so they can see how each job task impacts the others, and the job as a whole.
  4. What can go wrong? This gets them to think about problems that can appear while performing the job—and they have to think about solutions.
  5. How can you improve how the job is done? This drives them to think about ways to improve their workflow, or even innovate the job.

This process of instruction helps us teach people critical thinking skills while teaching them how to do a job.

Ethics: A Question of Character

Ethics

A Question of Character

Most people never stop and think about their values system, their system of beliefs that guide their decision making and choices. This leaves them scattered all over the place, with inconsistency in intent and actions, and prevents them from reaching their goals in life. Watch as Brett Dillon discusses Ethics