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October 13, 2006

Experientially Speaking - One Too Many Rocket Scientists

By Eddy Parham

"Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and I learn."  I don't remember who said that but whoever it was certainly nailed it. What makes this such a foreign concept for some in the upper crust to understand?

Recently I facilitated a large team building / problem solving weekend for an organization.  While planning for the event, I met with upper management in order to understand what they desired for outcomes.  The meeting was also as a covert way of learning the different styles of management that were alive and well within the organization.  Most of the top managers were good folks who understood the need for the rest of the group to be able to work through problems.  One manager, however, just couldn’t grasp this concept. 

This manager—I’ll call him "von Braun"—conveniently couldn’t be on site for the weekend, which really disappointed me (wink, wink, nod, nod).  But, he was present when we did a follow-up session several weeks later. 

The upper crust of the organization was suppose to be observing but of course von Braun couldn’t let the troops work out their issues without injecting his take on how the work should flow. What I really found interesting though was how the middle and front line managers just completely disregarded von Braun’s thoughts. In fact, it was actually rather nice to see the rest of the upper crust roll their eyes every time von Braun spoke.

While this group seems to “have gotten it” I run into too many others who have a von Braun who stifle learning. And, that can cause bright ideas to burn up on the launch pad.
Eddy was a learning consultant with a Fortune 500 Company in the Finance, Insurance, & Real Estate sector until the recent downturn in the real estate market. He’s now doing some freelance work and looking for full time employment in the field that he truly loves—training. You can contact Eddy at


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