Saturday, September 09, 2006

The Rewards of Teaching

A close friend recently asked me why I put all my best ideas up on the Internet. 'How could I be sure someone would not steal my ideas for their own profit?"

I smiled and even chuckled a little at that question before I could answer.

'I have been a business instructor for more than 20 years,' I responded, 'All that time I have encouraged people to copy what I show them. I want them to mimic what I do in public.'

People rarely have enough time to talk for very long these days and my friend was soon on her way. Her idea lingered a little longer after she was gone.

Honestly, I never encourage people to copy what I have done and call it their own. Instead, I ask students to begin learning by copying the examples I use in the classroom. By showing them how the tools work and what ideas have worked for me and others in the past, I encourage them to explore possibilities for the future.

As far as making money goes, some of my students have used my training to make millions. I know this because some have written or come back to thank me and others have become leaders in the fields I first led them into. Most of my students are already succeeding in their careers when they arrive in my classroom. I am there to help them transition into some new technology or business process.

I spend weeks preparing for the few hours I have to convey some skill or concept. I work closely with management to determine how they want employees to perform a particular task. During that time I may or may not be paid for every minute, that is irrelevant to me at this point in my career. What is important to me is doing the job accurately. I want the business people that use my manuals and attend my training to leave the classroom confident that they can perform the new task expected of them.

In this fast-changing world it is confidence and the right skills that build enterprises that endure. For business relationships to last we all need to know how to do our jobs and convey that assurance to other people. Copying exactly what the instructor comfortably demonstrates to you in the corporate classroom is the right thing to do. Creativity will follow in time, trust me it always does.

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