I used to pen my thoughts regularly, but for unmentionable and uncountable reasons, I stopped. Or rather, my penmanship became dormant. But now I have reason to resume writing, so this blog.
When I joined Freedom English Academy (FEA) as a Compliance Supervisor, my twelve-year experience prevented me from learning, unlearning and relearning. In my earlier avatar with FEA, I was a successful facilitator, but as a Compliance Supervisor, I struggled. Until Dec 26, 2013.
On Dec. 26, 2013 I got a chance to interact with Ashish Trivedi and that changed my professional outlook. I learnt that the secret to learning new things willingness to unlearn–even if your behaviors previously brought success. The key takeaway from Ashish’s session was learning, unlearning and relearning is a journey and destination in itself.
Now I practice the following to stay focused:
Begin at the beginning
I try to start every work every day with a fresh approach. For instance, when I had to address the issue of inactive students in the centers under my supervision, I failed. Next day, I tried different strategy and was successful. The third day I applied same strategy at a different center but results were frustrating. I realized just because one solution worked for one problem in one center, it might not work at the same center the next day or at another center. Instead of treating my solutions as magic bullets, I need to have a rich repertoire of solutions keeping in mind the nature of problem and people involved.
Many times we work with a fixed mindset and are hostage of our own perceptions/prejudices, blinding us to reality. That does not help.
In one case, I made up my mind about one facilitator, giving up on her abilities but she surprised me with her hard work. While I do not overlook my facilitators’ ranking and their past performance, I am becoming increasingly open to accept and learn again based upon daily observation and data. I am stay objective – a facilitator is as good or as bad as they perform on a given day based on empirical evidence.
Be the change
Many times we carry two mirrors – one for others and other for ourselves. We tell others to do something we do not display in our own behavior and conduct. If we expect students to imbibe the appropriate body language and intonation, we must also expect the facilitators to demonstrate that. If we want the facilitators to imbibe that, we must as Compliance Supervisors demonstrate that.
How I interact with the facilitators, can modify the behaviour of the facilitators and can set my expectations for how facilitators interact with students.
While human values are common to all, our socio-cultural beliefs vary. Beliefs can transform into prejudices if they are not revisited and reaffirmed regularly.
The facilitators under my supervision belong to varied backgrounds and experiences. I fail if I use the same socio-cultural lenses to look at all of them. I am learning to look at them as individuals from a specific context and not a homogeneous group. This helps me focus better on individual strengths and weaknesses.
Everyday, I continue to enjoy this challenging yet satisfying journey of learning, unlearning and relearning.
Praveen Kumar Sharma