Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Lowering the Hurdles

My 10 year old daughter just competed in her school district's annual Track & Field Day events.  She ran the hurdles, something she's never even attempted before a few weeks ago.  Low and behold, she's actually pretty good at it and secured a solid 4th place finish.

The hurdles are lower for 10 year olds.  Even the taller students wouldn't stand a chance trying to clear the heights you see at standard track meets.   Does that take away from their accomplishments?  Of course not.  Without lower hurdles, they wouldn't even be in the race.

I'm reminded of something our Learning & Development team did for my Client Services teams.  I told them about some personal development goals we had for our emerging leaders.  We wanted them to have the chance to get in front of their teams and hone their presentation and facilitation skills.  However, they didn't have the time or the skills to develop the materials, so the weren't even getting off the blocks.  Plus, the content had to be truly valuable to the teams or it would backfire on us.  

The solution?  We lowered the hurdles to give our emerging leaders a chance to be in the race.

Our Learning & Development partners wrote the content, agendas, supporting materials, and facilitator guidelines for a series of relevant topics that the emerging leaders could use right out of the box.  It was a great success.

Here's to 4th graders and emerging leaders getting their first taste of success with lower hurdles.

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