I found this image on Twitter last week and I immediately grabbed it and posted it on my LinkedIn page with this caption: “I see a lot of this (both looking around AND when I stop to look in the mirror). Chronic ‘I’m too busy…’ syndrome is not a good thing.”
Then I started to think about it some more. Yes, it represents the daily struggle that L&D professionals face every day, whereby lots of people we work with claim that they’re too busy to take time out to improve their skill set.
At the same time, it represents a Cardinal sin that we L&D professionals make all too often.
We get a little too smarmy and sometimes aren’t quite empathetic enough to our audience’s situation.
The image shows a little Lego man with two round wheels, ready to solve the workers’ problem if only they’d stop for a moment to change out their square wheels. While we may think our learning interventions and training sessions are always the L&D equivalent of a nice set of round Lego wheels, what happens when we actually end up offering something like this:
Sure it’s still a square shape, but it’s a Magna-tile! It’s a newer, updated version of Legos. Instead of interlocking pieces, Magna-tiles use magnets to stay together. My kids love using these, so why shouldn’t the Lego workers love using them too?
Perhaps the Lego workers are more traditionalist in nature, not looking for the latest in toy construction gear. Is it possible that our amazing learning interventions look a bit more like this:
It’s a rounder(ish) version of a square, right?
As I reflected on the original image, I began to wonder: are we always offering the right solutions to help people on a path toward dramatic improvement? Or can our perceptions of our own solutions sometimes be skewed, when really what we offer may be a path to marginal improvements?
The next time someone tells us they’re too busy to take a little time out and improve their skill set, are we sure we’re offering round wheels to replace their square blocks? Or are we simply offering the latest fad or cool new tool that seemed to work in another context but hasn’t been proven in our audience’s environment?
Internet memes are a fun way to vent frustrations. Actually helping people with the right solutions to improve their performance takes a little more work. And, spoiler alert, our solutions generally aren’t magical Lego wheels that immediately solve every problem in just the right way.