4Adjusting to Hear and Be Heard

Helping others to choose well in a business setting often involves education. But the education, for it to stick, has to be centered on the needs of the particular learner (i.e., client, customer, direct report, or manager).

The best teachers are never the ones looking for canned lesson plans borrowed quickly from a colleague or ripped off a website, and the same can be said for the best business people, who would never want to be accused of offering canned advice or guidance. Though teachers speak often about “not reinventing the wheel,” the best teachers never adopt an old wheel if it means that they have to give up their ability to make choices, in the moment, about the learners in front of them.

They are masters of human‐centered optionality, which is a fancy way of saying that they have methods for keeping their eyes on the learners in front of them and then choosing instructional options from a vast toolkit to bring each learner one step closer to the ultimate goals of the class itself. They do what their classes (and schools) promise to do, and they take great pride in that fact. It's a responsibility that comes with a great, internal reward when fulfilled.

They might stop a discussion that isn't going anywhere, or that seems to be alienating parts of the class, and ask students to silently journal and then pass their journals to the right. They might call for a debate…and then switch the sides at the last moment so that students have ...

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