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Everything’s perfect – We have nothing to learn – really?

headshot2013I was somewhat alarmed last week when attending a client meeting to learn that if someone is critical in any way about the company or the team they are thought to be letting down the side and not a ‘good’ team member.  Where does such thinking originate for surely if you cannot cope with criticism how can you and your organisation learn or grow?

Continuous improvement  – Much is said about the importance of continuous improvement.  Yet organisations too often shy away from it.  Those of you who know me know how annoyed I can get when people mis-use and have an over reliance of slides and the technology.  At a recent event I complained it was clear the participants had not practiced with the equipment or checked to see if their slides could be read at the back of the room.  I was horrified to be told ‘we are only volunteers’ as if that somehow vindicated their lack of professionalism.    Indeed it is often suggested that if you are critical you must, in some way, be against the organisation.

 Critical feedback  –   So it can be difficult to offer your critical feedback.   Let’s consider what would happen to you if you told them it was all just brilliant?  Well you will be rewarded by being considered a useful team player, your boss will happy with you and you may improve your chance of promotion. 

This makes it more difficult and challenging if you know the organisation will benefit, may even survive, if it faces up to its problems and decides to embrace continuous improvement.


So start slowly.  Take your next event or a project and set up a debriefing session so that you can learn from it.  It’s not hard if everyone involved is open to learning from it.  At this stage evaluation forms from the participants are normally next to useless if they are fearful of being seen to be rocking the boat. 

  • ·         What went well? 


  • ·         What could have been done better? 


  • ·         What were the objectives? 


  • ·         Did we meet them?  And if not, why not? 

And the most useful question of all.  

  • ·         Given another chance what would we do differently?

There is no excuse for poor workmanship and plenty of opportunity to improve.  Let’s allow the voices of concern and criticism in our organisations to speak and for the rest to listen and learn.

Are you assertive enough in your communications to raise an issue?

assertivecover2Assertive communication is much more than a set of techniques.

Assertiveness is very much about how you feel about yourself and if you are happy with the way that you relate to other people and they relate to you.

This self-study workbook  is all about how to behave assertively in the workplace .  It  is a step by step guide to understanding the true nature of assertiveness and help you to recognise  submissive, aggressive and assertive behaviours.  It covers  your personal rights and responsibilities and shows you how select the appropriate techniques to deal with aggressive and submissive behaviours in others.

 This is a weekly blog published every Tuesday and covers all aspects of communication.

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