Most of us know the definition of insanity. If you don’t, look it up, Most often Albert Einstein is credited for the statement. Or you will even see Mark Twain credited it for it. But it says that insanity is “doing the same things over and over and expecting different results.”
It’s very clear what it means. If you want to get a different result than you have been getting than you must be willing to something that you haven’t done. Seems simple in theory, but in practice it is the hardest thing to actually do.
I have worked in higher education and training and development for the majority of my professional career. Both of these fields live in a space that I like to call “Important, but Not Urgent.” To steal a concept from Stephen Covey.
Everybody knows that continuing education is important. Whether it is formal education through colleges and universities. Or through on going classes, courses, seminars, training, and coaching. Although we all know it is important, we all don’t think it is that urgent, until it is.
Urgency is usually only created by a significant change in our conditions. Most people and most companies, and especially in higher education. They all get caught up in the moment and it is hard for them to think about the future. When you are not thinking about the future, all you do is what is necessary today to survive another day. Meanwhile you are neglecting the future, being so focused on the present. It is real and it is a challenge, but great leaders and institutions realize that for them to have a better future, they must make time to prepare for it.
That is why training and development and further education both fall into this concept “Important, but not urgent.” As I have already stated, everybody believes both of them are important. But todays work, todays challenges, todays problems, are more important to think about than the skills we will need to tackle tomorrows problems.
Its kind of funny that institutions of higher education that provide knowledge, information, education, degrees, certificates, etc. Are some of the same places that don’t provide the training, education, information, and skill development that their employees need to be more successful.
I can remember meeting with a Chief Academic Officer (Dean of the entire university), and asking them about providing some training to their faculty and staff. And it was almost like I insulted the individual. The training I proposed was skill development training. They put their nose up in the air as if it was beneath them to even talk about such a thing in a college or university.
The longer I am in and around higher education I see this a being the reality for many of the institutions. Why would places of higher learning neglect the one thing that they promote?
One reason, is they never find the time. The second reason is because of their ego. There is a condition most human beings have. It is called “everybody but me condition.” Meaning, everybody but me has these problems, or deal with these things, but I don’t. It has been proven through study after study that human beings think of themselves as better than they actually are.
Two psychologists Justin Kruger and David Dunning, Dunning-Kruger effect. Studied this very thing. Here is their analysis.
People tend to hold overly favorable views of their abilities in many social and intellectual domains. The authors suggest that this overestimation occurs, in part, because people who are unskilled in these domains suffer a dual burden: Not only do these people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it. Across 4 studies, the authors found that participants scoring in the bottom quartile on tests of humor, grammar, and logic grossly overestimated their test performance and ability. Although their test scores put them in the 12th percentile, they estimated themselves to be in the 62nd. Several analyses linked this miscalibration to deficits in metacognitive skill, or the capacity to distinguish accuracy from error. Paradoxically, improving the skills of participants, and thus increasing their metacognitive competence, helped them recognize the limitations of their abilities. Dunning and Kruger, Cornell University.
So this fallacy is part of the problem in most higher education institutions, they don’t see the need for ongoing development. This problem starts at the top with leadership. They have to find value in it first.
The truth of the matter is that the people responsible for generating the revenue, ie. tuition for these colleges and universities are getting younger and younger. I hate to say that age is part of it, but I am saying this. A recent college grad usually doesn’t have the experience or knowledge to discuss the issues and concerns most prospective students have, and especially the ones their parents have. Secondly, the admissions representatives are not skilled enough to have the necessary conversations with the non-traditional students.
To get the admissions personnel better skilled and more effective, initial training and ongoing training and development is necessary and required. This training provides processes, techniques, and language they can use to be more successful, but more importantly, it creates self-confidence in the people who participate in the training. That is worth the training by itself. Self-confidence is one of the major lacking behaviors that I see when working with teams.
Does your team need some self-confidence? By learning skills, processes, and techniques to do their job better, people will have the self-confidence that is necessary to be successful.
To your success and your future.
Brian Willett is the owner and creator of the Admissions Advantage Training program. This live and online training program provides anybody who is responsible for recruiting prospective students to a college, university, or any other institution, skills and techniques to be more effective in their positions. More importantly, the self-confidence required to meet the demands of their positions.