Or, How Sheep Are Not Like Spreadsheets
The last time you were sent to a training course, was all the learning you were asked to do based around imaginary scenarios? Most traditional training focuses on creating hypothetical situations and showing you how to resolve problems within them, using the techniques that the training course is trying to introduce. In the interests of doing this, the trainer might tell you that, for the next hour, you’re to think like a sheep farmer, and make decisions as a sheep farmer that will help you to shear your sheep better. Flowmotion doesn’t do that, and this is why:
Thinking Like A Sheep Farmer
Did you have a bit of an issue slipping yourself into the shoes of the sheep farmer, or whatever unfamiliar job role that the trainer asked you to take charge of? Were you automagically transported to the sights and smells of the sheep pen and immediately aware of all the specific challenges that your rubber-boot wearing counterpart would be up against that day?
Probably not, if your day job doesn’t involve wool and sheepdogs. It’s not feasible to ask someone to imagine their way into a completely unfamiliar situation and then extrapolate from its specifics. We have no previous knowledge to tell us when the best time to get out the clippers or what size field the lambs should roam – and, more importantly, why would someone who isn’t a sheep farmer care?
To a sheep farmer, those questions would be absolutely fundamental, and his or her interest would immediately be piqued. Here, would think the sheep farmer, is someone who’s going to help me breed happy, healthy lambs to skip merrily across my fields. To the sheep farmer, this training example is the most helpful it could possibly be, because it relates directly to his or her experience.
But to the rest of us, in our varied and wide-ranging occupations, it’s not quite so easy to identify with – and that’s a difficult challenge for a trainer, because how on earth can they find a hypothetical scenario that’s going to suit everyone in the room?
And therein lies the philosophy of Flowmotion’s style of training: you can’t find a scenario that will be immediately relevant to the person you’re trying to help, unless you use their own, personal scenario. And so, at Flowmotion, we’ve realised that the key to making lasting changes to the way you approach your work is to address the real problems that are affecting you, in your working life, right this minute. Unless you’re a sheep farmer, we bypass the sheep.
We don’t want to just introduce methodologies, such as Lean, Agile, Scrum, Kanban, DSDM, XP or some other form of organisational transformation: we believe in helping you achieve new ways of working by applying a different way of thinking. And that’s done best within your own, personal context.
Using Your Own Context
In this example, everyone but the sheep farmer would likely come away from that training session feeling that, though they understood the concepts quite well during the course, they have no idea how to apply them in their actual working environments. It is a simple fact of nature and evolution that sheep are not the same as spreadsheets.
We’ve found that rooting out real problems that are at that very moment affecting your working environment, and guiding you to solve those problems using a different way of thinking, is mutually beneficial. By doing so, not only do we have an easy and effective way to teach you to see and understand how to apply the new way of working, we can provide value to your work at the same time.
To address these challenges, we developed a unique approach to training called Value-Add Applied Learning™ (VAL). In a VAL session, we do first explain a concept by using a hypothetical example – because you’ll need to understand the concept first, without worrying about how it applies to your environment – but then we quickly move on to actually applying the concept in your context, for real.
To do this, during the training session itself, we work with you to use the different way of thinking to solve a problem you’re currently experiencing. We aim to provide training course that actually provides immediate value, rather than just costing you time and money.
In essence, by identifying real problems and teaching you how to solve them, we help you learn to do so for yourself in the future. The positive reinforcement from addressing a problem that’s been plaguing you is, after all, an incredibly strong motivator to keep striving to adopt that new way of working, because you will already have seen how well it works for you.
Using VAL, Flowmotion training places emphasis on the real-world experience of using new techniques to genuinely improve your working life. It’s learning by actually doing, with the added benefit of ending the training course significantly better off than when you began.