Feeding the Appetite for Self-Improvement

Winston Churchill once famously said “the most important thing about education is the appetite.”

We teach and coach communication skills all day, every day, here at The Latimer Group. And we see all kinds of people walk into our workshops. We see the willing, the unwilling, the motivated, the unmotivated… and everything in between. Some people embrace training opportunities and want to be there. Some are only there because their boss told them they had to be there, and their body language clearly communicates their negativity.

I’m writing to you today about the ROI of training opportunities. When some training comes your way, the degree to which you embrace the training will directly correlate to the value you get in return. If you embrace it, if you listen, take notes, and are open minded, you will get great value. That is good for you and for your organization.

Instead, if you are close minded about it, if you don’t pay attention, don’t take notes, don’t engage, your ROI will be low, and you will also reduce the value of the experience for the other participants.

I recently had a person in one of our workshops who sat there, notebook closed, leaning back in their chair in a disinterested way, and stared out the window the entire time. This person was clearly communicating to me that they did not want to be there. They got nothing out of it, and the others in the room found the conduct annoying and distracting. I actually had a chat with the person at lunch and gave them the option to leave the workshop. It was that bad.

Anyway… modest point today. If you get an opportunity for self-improvement, be smart about it. Engage, even if you are not psyched about it. Engage, listen, participate, be open minded. You’ll get more out of it, your colleagues will get more out of it, and the executive who invested in you will be excited that you made the most of the opportunity.

Good luck!

Does your team:
– Take too long to make decision?
– Fail to ask for what it wants or needs from you?
– Make things too complicated?
– Deliver unconvincing or disorganized presentations?
– Have new hires who are unprepared to communicate in the workplace?

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4 responses to “Feeding the Appetite for Self-Improvement”

  1. John Burnham says:

    A good reminder, Dean – and to which I’ll add the question, “How do I want to live my life – spending my time wishing I was NOT here or spending all of my time engaged in how I can learn and seeking joy for myself and those around me?”

  2. Lisa D says:

    Given the recent FATHOM focus on meetings and this blog by Winston Churchill, I think the man has much to teach. The connections to the meetings? I’ve heard that he routinely had 20-minute meetings. I aspire to be that focused, clear and engaged in interactions to accomplish so much in such little time. Time is our most precious commodity. Don’t waste your own or others’.

    • Dean Brenner says:

      Thanks Lisa… I always have two goals in every meeting… make it valuable, and end early. Doesn’t always happen. But that is always my intention.

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Dean Brenner

A book about change

The Latimer Group’s CEO Dean Brenner is a noted keynote speaker and author on the subject of persuasive communication. He has written three books, including Persuaded, in which he details how communication can transform organizations into highly effective, creative, transparent environments that succeed at every level.