“Try another way” is a concept that inspired Joe Leddy to start our organization almost 37 years ago. Last week I had a few “try another way” moments that relate directly to our work in human resources. More on that in a minute.
Marc Gold’s “Try Another Way” approach “was based on a few fundamental beliefs: Everyone can learn but we have to figure out how to teach; students with developmental disabilities have much more potential than anyone realizes; and all people with disabilities should have the opportunity to decide how to live their lives.” http://mn.gov/mnddc/extra/marc-gold1.html
The focus is on people with disabilities and was produced at a time when people with disabilities were not as integrated into society as they are today. Still, every time I watch it I am reminded that when I am providing training to a person or a group, my job is to figure out how to present information in ways others learn, rather than only in the way that I learn. (Our work with assessments, like Predictive Index, also reminds us of this.)
It shows us that we shouldn’t put limits on what we think people can do. Another example is Daniel Kitsch. Daniel is blind, and he is able to do many things that you might think he could not do – such as hiking and riding a bike (see the Steve on Leadership blog post here) – so inspiring!
So, back to the Try Another Way moments – Moment #1 — Last week Dr. Therese Willkomm presented the Spectrum webinar “What do walkie-talkies, duct tape, and grabbers have in common?” I think of Dr. Willkomm as the MacGyver of workplace accommodations. Chances Are, when you think of workplace accommodations, you think of elevators and other expensive and complex changes. Through a series of photos and explanations, Dr. Willkomm shows us how to look at things differently and find other ways (often easy and fast and low-cost!) to accomplish job tasks. You can view a recording of the webinar here. Dr. Willkomm has also published several books that are available on Amazon.
Try Another Way moment #2 — Last week I visited a childcare center that we have worked with for years. Every time I visit I’m impressed with the thoughtful way the teachers interact with the children. My “try another way” moment happened when I watched a young person put on his coat independently. I put my coat on one sleeve at a time, and sometimes have difficulty putting the second arm in, especially if I’m trying to hold something else.
This young person put his coat on the floor, and then he flipped the coat up and over. He and his cartoon-character hood ran off giggling and had some last-minute fun before his parents arrived to pick him up. https://teachpreschool.org/2013/02/06/how-to-put-on-a-coat/ For those of you with children, this may be something you’re familiar with already. I have dogs and cats, not kids, so I had never seen it before. I had never thought about how you could put a coat differently. It was a simple change that allowed the young person to be independent and do the task without struggling. Side note: Putting Halloween costumes on dogs can also be challenging – maybe I’ll work on some new methods this year and report back to you.
If you watch the webinar, I think you’ll also be inspired. I challenge you to look for opportunities to Try Another Way – whether it’s to do something you thought you couldn’t, to adjust how you are training/coaching, and/or adjust your assumptions about abilities.