So many times in our lives we have encountered people who say one thing and do another. In our professional lives as well, how many times have we engaged a company or vendor who preach something and then turn around and do something else? This is one of the main complaints we get from our clients. They come to us after having hired another vendor who basically “didn’t get it.” For our clients, “it” means what they originally hired them to do, their company culture, their timely requests, their internal processes. The list goes on and on.
That is why when I received the following email from a viewer of one of our YouTube educational videos, I was so thrilled that someone had caught on to one of the main tenets of our business strategy and the reason why we have remained in business — successfully– for over 10 years. (And definitely the reason why our clients keep coming back to us for more).
So here it is: “I am currently a graduate student at Kaplan University, in the department of Higher Education. As part of a class assignment we were instructed to evaluate your 10 minute presentation on YouTube [on delivering an engaging virtual classroom presentation]; and would also, at your request, like to give you some feedback. I thought that you did an outstanding job of creating a concise, informative, and practical educational experience. I really appreciated seeing the image of who I believe is you, but either way, that image of a woman dressed professionally, appeared to be the instructor; thus making it feel more like a traditional classroom experience. The narrator’s voice was clear, and contained a lot of inflection, conveying an energy and enthusiasm that was engaging. The graphics appeared very professional and there was a nice continuity between all of the graphics. The video suggested that a presentation incorporate more visuals with little text, and in that manner and a few others, you modeled the concepts you were instructing about. Teaching about teaching is a unique process, one that I feel best is done along with demonstration. All too often, I feel that teachers adopt a “do as I say, and not as I do” philosophy. I think I am among many learners who respond better to a “practice what you preach” approach. My professional goals include teaching educators how to be more inclusive, and this video, although focused on a different topic, really gave me some practical strategies for developing our own e-learning experiences. Like I mentioned before, teaching about teaching, especially in a manner that excludes an educator’s ability to rely on social cues, and other informal assessments, really require a level of creativity, and ability to plan effectively, of educators. Job well done! Thank you for your helpful suggestions.” (Phillip A. Collazo, CYT, Director of Education, Project AWWOL)
It’s simple. “Practice what you preach.” Why is it so difficult for people to actually achieve this? Where does this cognitive dissonance come from? I think a lot of individuals and companies out there are caught in the game of “I want to be this way” (I want to be healthy, I want to have a fulfilling career, I want to be successful, I want to exceed my customer’s expectations, I want to create the ultimate and best product…you get the idea) but have not done any of the work that it takes to get there. So instead of being healthy, they go have lunch at McDonald’s, instead of being fulfilled, they go for the job with the biggest paycheck, instead of listening to the client’s needs and expectations, they focus on what they consider best, cheaper and faster.
It’s time to look at ourselves, our company, our purpose and understand that success (as a parent, a friend, a business owner, a company) can only come from integrity that is aligned with the basic principle of practicing what you preach.