I’ve got a new favourite Landmark Education course: the one I did last weekend.
It’s called the Communication: Access to Power course, the first of two communication courses the course leader said they jokingly call The Curriculum for Loving (in contrast to the three more famous Landmark courses, beginning with the Landmark Forum, which together are known as The Curriculum for Living).
The course was packed with insights and revelations, and I’ll be dining on its intellectual and spiritual nourishment for years to come.
My week since has been exhilarating. Everything I’ve touched has turned to gold, every word I’ve uttered, turned to good. I’ll say much more about this matter of “word” in posts to come. For now, I want to share one small and telling incident.
One of the tasks I’m currently responsible for is training 200 staff in the use of a tablet computer. The staff are based in different locations throughout the state, and most have never used a computer in their work. They are predominantly men, aged 40 to 60; we’ve even got a couple in their 70s (they’re the young-looking ones).
I’m ultimately responsible for the success of the project, and my task is to have the staff agree to come to the city for training, to have them turn up, and do so on time, and to have them get what they need to use the computer in their daily work. In some cases, it includes asking them to drive three hours to the city and three hours back for a two-hour training session, and having them arrange someone else to cover their job while they’re away for the day.
We’ve learnt through trial and error that 10 participants is the maximum we want in each training session. With 200 staff to train, this means we’re running 20 sessions. Not only do I want this training finished by the deadline in June, I want it finished early. Because we’ve got other stuff to do.
Now, last week we had one training session scheduled for Thursday. On the Monday afternoon, I had only 5 participants lined up and my colleague asked me,
What’s the likelihood of us having 10 participants on Thursday?
In the past, if someone had asked me such a question, I would have hemmed and hawed and said something like, “Well, we’ll try to have 10.”
This time it was different. This time I said, without thinking,
We will have 10 participants in the session on Thursday.
A few minutes later I rang a man called C to invite him to one of three training sessions. I had called this man several times before, and sent several emails, and had never received a reply. This time he answered.
I told him the three dates and asked him which would suit him. At first he said none of them because he had commitments on each day. I talked to him a bit more, telling him what some of the other staff had been finding about the training including how they’d been pleased about some online forms. He asks, “What’s the benefit of that?” and I say
Well, you don’t have to carry around all the heavy paper forms.
I heard the change in his manner, and sure enough, he started saying, “Mmm, maybe I can move the appointment …” He said he’d check and call me back. He called me back in a few minutes and straight up, he says,
Yes, I can come in for training, and I can come in on Thursday if that suits you. Oh, and by the way, I’ve got my colleague, D, here who I can bring along too.
Now D was another I’d been trying to contact for weeks. So I say, “Yes, great!” and then C says,
Actually, I’ve also got M here and he wants to do it too. And if you can squeeze in two others, I’ve got L and J who can come with us.
And, bingo, there were my 10 participants! All done in one phone call, and all organised by C, without any effort on my part.
When I walked into the training venue on Thursday, they were all there waiting for me, 15 minutes early.
In the Communication course last weekend, the course leader – the wonderful Marcelle Bernard – said we would have the experience of having our words come out of another person’s mouth. I got this in spades this week. What I also got was the experience of having my words come out of my mouth.
For more information about Landmark Education’s courses, click here.
Image: The “Yep, it’s a busker” busker outside David Jones in Bourke Street Mall, Melbourne, a few weeks ago. Notice his stack of sheet music, his chimney hat, his grey plait and the two silent observers (courtesy of my trusty iPhone)