At the beginning of the month I was in India, facilitating a 2-day change management workshop. It was a follow-up to a 2-day session in October in which participants created a series of performance rubrics in order to better identify competencies across a variety of eye care-related skill sets.
As day 2 got underway, I happened to be walking behind one participant and noticed something curious: he had his laptop open (which is fine) and he was browsing his Facebook feed (which wasn’t quite as fine with me).
Should I tap him on the shoulder and ask him to pay attention? Should I make a general announcement to let everyone know that it’s ok to have computers out to take notes but not to catch up on email (or check Facebook)?
I had a decision to make. In the end, I chose to do nothing.
Here are some facts that ran through my head that helped me come to my decision to do nothing:
- He was completing all the work he was asked to do during the session.
- Others in the room were already taking the work we had done back in October and putting it to use by piloting these rubrics within their organizations or even creating an app to help facilitate the use of these rubrics.
- Ultimately this participant (along with every other participant in the room) was going to be asked to commit to a change management and implementation schedule, so if he wasn’t getting everything he needed during this session, he would be responsible for getting it some other way… because he would be held accountable for demonstrating results after returning home from this session.
Workshops and training sessions are about creating space to help others do something new or differently or better. In short: learning and development is about the journey, sure, but even more so it’s about the results.
As amazingly engaging as we feel we’ve designed our sessions, we will never be able to be all things to all people.
If someone demonstrates to me that they “get it” and are able to prove, through session activities, that they’re able to deliver when they’re asked to deliver, then I suppose it’s ok for them to doodle or sketch or, yes, even check Facebook from time to time.
What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Have you done something differently when you’ve found participants texting or Tweeting or Facebooking? Let’s hear it in the Comment section.