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Ordinary People Taking Action
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Today’s post centers around a needs assessment I’m creating for a group at Amazon. That’s about as much as I can say publicly about the project at this time, so while I won’t be blogging about the project itself, I do want to zero in on an “aha moment” I experienced while working on it.
The first step in the process was to produce a draft and send it to my client for review. Although I have created and run several needs assessments throughout my career, it’s not something I’ve done for the specific function of the group I am supporting now. We knew going into the project that I would provide L&D expertise and my client would provide functional and technical knowledge. We were prepared for a joint effort.
Last week we had a call, actually two long calls, to review the draft of my document. Our calls covered topics that we are adding to the needs assessment like project management, influencing, leadership, stakeholder alignment, and communication. This led to a discussion about the ability to collaborate on a project, take in feedback and move a project forward without taking recommendations personally.
As we were talking, I looked down at my document that was now full of feedback and notes galore. If someone looked at these pages, they could easily assume that I had done the project all wrong or that my client wasn’t happy. There were TONS of notes – so many I wasn’t sure I’d be able to read them later – as well as hours of necessary revisions.
When I shared this thought with my client, the two of us came to a realization. The comments, feedback and notes didn’t mean that what I’d produced was wrong at all – in many ways it meant the project was on the right track. This was a draft. Feedback and changes were expected.
Rather than simply indicating errors in the draft, my written notes represent something much more significant. They reflect a rich, deep, meaningful conversation that took place during the review. The review that led us to truly think things through and use the best of each of our skills to revise the assessment to be something even better.
I will admit that it took reflection and thoughtfulness to reach the mindset that these handwritten notes, changes really, were the reflection of good work and not bad or wrong work.
I love perceptions shifts.