Category Archives: connections

Listening to Innovate

A question that was asked on, “How do we help people in our own buildings that are reluctant to move forward?”

My response was to not try to impose what you want to teach them, but listen to what they are doing and work backwards from there.  If we can connect our learning to theirs it is a definite win-win, yet when we constantly push only what we know, it might make the other person feel that they are doing something wrong.  I tried to articulate this in a short video below.

Moving people forward by listening to where they are at first. #innovatorsmindset

Posted by George Couros on Saturday, February 13, 2016


To provide an example of this, here is a short snippet from my book, “The Innovator’s Mindset“, edited for the purpose of this post:

“One of the challenges with the large group workshop model is that, no matter how hard we try to differentiate, not everyone will get out of the day what you (or they) might hope. There are times when large group sessions are necessary to develop a shared vision. But to move people from their point A to the point B, I believe it is necessary to create regular opportunities for human interaction that help build relationships and spur innovation.

For example, as a central office administrator, I often visited schools and held the equivalent of college professor office hours. Throughout the day, I booked several forty- to sixty-minute sessions with one to three staff members at a time. These smaller groups helped create an intimacy that is often lacking in many of our larger, one-size-fits-all learning opportunities and allowed me to get to know participants in a much better way. It also created opportunities for each staff member to get to know one another. The sessions were open-ended and we tailored the discussions based on the simple question, “What would you like to learn?” We focused on what the learner wanted, not on what I wanted to deliver. In some of the sessions, I shared tools to make communication easier. In other sessions, we talked about the shifting philosophies on how to teach. There was no set agenda for the sessions, since each was focused on the needs of the teacher-learner. But as the individuals left my temporary office, they felt heard, they felt as if I cared about them and their personal success, and they had learned something that was important to them.” (page 76)

As Covey would say, if we are to “begin with the end in mind”, the “end” should be that people move forward and grow, not just simply do what they think they should do.  This starts with listening.