Sunday, January 12, 2014

Living by example and the power of monkey see - monkey do... (part1)

In an attempt to progress in healing myself, leave my secure den for a while and to reintegrate myself in real human-civilization, I agreed to some volunteer translation duties at an event my incredible mother company (if you are nice, come back reading regularly and help this blog to reach more then ten people I will eventually - just maybe - tell you a little bit more one day ;) ) hosted here in Vienna.
Now I won't be going into detail, but one of our believes - that is passed on frequently in meetings, trainings, conventions,... - is to adopt the "monkey see - monkey do" philosophy as a mindset and tool.
Has worked since the beginning of humanity - as the name suggests! - does to this day and means nothing less then that others are highly likely to follow your example - if you have established some kind of POSITIVE relationship with them first (you wouldn't follow anybody you despise, right? - but that's a subject we shall return to at another time):
So whatever YOU do, will be reproduced in one way or another as closely to that persons abilities and their personality. The stronger YOUR output, the closer the result will be to what you want to be reproduced! The laxer and "wishy-washy" you are, the less defined the outcome. That's when most teachers, trainers, leader need to go back to untangle what wasn't understood correctly.
Now this applies to many areas of learning, so is a crucial thing to keep in mind when preparing what you want to say, do, achieve - or what happens if you go careless and DON'T give it due consideration!

Now I won't go into much detail from this event, just two tiny examples, that might get some to reconsider their own behavioral output and what it could do to the big picture:

I ended up handing out gear and headsets for attendees to use during speeches, giving them the sinple instructions and asking them cheerfully to please return the equipment at the end of our event to ME (A. positive! B. connected to a face, which then is connected to a place - lets have as many senses in use - always useful to reach a goal!)...
Outcome:
Almost HALF of the machines where NOT returned, but instead left inside the event-hall on or under chairs. But what really is the point - their have not been any SINGLE headsets left behind, but it was always a group of people sitting next to each other!
Monkey see - monkey do ;)
At one time getting up, they might have all held in their hands, but then it takes onle ONE person to put it back down on the chair for everybody else to think "Oh, if he/she isn't taking it back, why should I?!"
Now consider that in doing your business!
This is only a tiny thing, where one person led his or her group/followers to not return their headsets (which ok, resulted only in me having to go searching after them in a hall that had been occupied by a mere 1500 people for the day!), but can you picture that in other areas?!
And what I would consider in the next sequence is, that human behavior is not only defined by copying, but also by imprinting such - means nothing less that what has been stored, eventually gets repeated without even thinking about it (ok some people don't even think in first place, but that's a different problem all together). That of course can multiply and multiply and then therapists earn a lot of money guiding people through the process of undoing the damage by unlearning behavioral mannerism who shouldn't have been inhaled in first place.
So, if you lead your team carelessly into adapting actually unwanted things, don't fuss about it later - the fault's with you and you only (and trust me, I've been there as well!)!
Second sequence:
We are talking about a truly wonderful company, who puts people first, gives everybody an equal chance and talks about health, prosperity and generally making the world a better place - high visions indeed and definitely much needed hope and guidance in the time we live and proven not empty words in this case!
BUT:
Now, if you would have been there (and I know some readers will have) and -  even with all your excitement and in that state of exuberant expectations - would have turned around to become aware of your surroundings one last time on your way out, you would have gotten quite a different impression.
You might have wondered if, in our vision to make the world a BETTER place, we have surrendered to fighting it with old fashioned war-techniques, leaving behind the carnage associated with it!
For myself, wandering around in my hunt for headset-prey, I was left climbing over and frequently tripped by hundred of CANS - and boy was I happy there wasn't any popcorn available that day!!
Now I know what people are going to say now - it was a great day, people had other things in mind, everybody was excited, using the momentum, planning ahead...
Hey, but I thought that was the point? Planning ahead, using the excitement, changing the world?!
Maybe by picking up your can(s) and - proudly! - carrying them to the next trash-pin (memo to myself: let's remember to actually put up specific ones for cans - aluminum and metal are precious for recycling), because we want to leave a positive impression about our company because we are truly different, people, aware of their surrounding and willing to take that extra step to make changes that count and are visible to others? Wouldn't that be an amazingly tiny step for each individual to take, but duplicated having an incredible result on how we are perceived by those immediately watching?
Now I am not pointing a finger at anybody specific (which would be hard to do with the hundreds of cans spread throughout the rows - quite colorful actual and quite a branding of the hall!) - god, I have left garbage behind in the past and allowed a gum to remove itself through the car window - but, as I was collecting, I became witness to a couple of people not belonging to our troupe, but obviously to the center management (one of them later checked with me that all headsets where back and in good order) discussing the mess in passing and it was not a good impression left and I was tempted to jump in in and defend "my" company by declaring "That's not how we are!" One statement that kinda really hurt, was the fast to come, was the "well, it's all those young people, it's what you have to expect. They don't care!" I realize how thin my reply, "yeah, they do, the young people in our organization really do! I am sure they where in a rush, they just forgot..." sounded. It's a bit far stretched to hope somebody believes that hundreds of cans have been abandoned by accident...
And now think, if the leader of each group, team - or a seat neighbor in the row - would have picked up his - pointedly or  reminded verbally to follow up!
I can just taste that "WOW - you people are so orderly - we never had that before! What is that?!" coming from those people I had observed - so much difference, so much pride to take in!
Monkey see - monkey do.
Maybe it's worth considering to you - maybe it's worth to take the thought with you and discuss with others - your friends, team, the people that look up to you and follow you?
Sometimes very little moves go a loooonngggg way....

(I know I promised to post pedagogic/training posts in German, but this one applies to a rather huge community and couldn't possibly be reduced to the German speaking people only, so please bear with me! Also YOU guys can deal English as well, while they - well you know how we Americans are! ;) )