You can take your Resilience and shove it!
February 21, 2014 5 Comments
Or how small things can radically alter training outcomes.
I am often amazed by how what seem like quite small things to us can be absolute deal breakers when it comes to student outcomes in training programs. Let me give you an example we use the word Resilience, in a lot of our training and workshops, because well a lot of the work that we do is about or with people in crisis and how to assist them while at the same time looking after yourself appropriately. This could be in the context of mental health, suicide, natural disasters anything really and up until recently the word resilience has never caused us any issues, or adversely effected the outcomes of training. While working a group of people recently the word resilience and what it meant became a bit of a focal point and as a result we have altered a range of our training programs in response.
So what was the problem? The problem was that this group and now several others has seen the word resilience as a cop-out, a way of saying, we are not going to actually do anything to help you because we you are ‘resilient’ enough to help yourselves. The groups had heard the word so often and in so many context where it resulted in no assistance for them, that they had attached a very negative connotation to the word. So much so in fact that a number of people who would have come to and greatly benefited from the workshop didn’t attend because the work resilience was used in the flyers and promotional materials.
This has really got me wondering though. How often, despite our best efforts do the words we use in our promotional materials and our training and workshops, have a very different meaning for other, than they do for us and is there any way for us deal with this. I am not suggesting that we should try and craft the universal, inoffensive language for training, because usually where I have seen attempts at this (read most things written with extreme political correctness) the meaning and importance is lost and I think even less people end up being engaged. What I am suggesting though is that I think this happens more often than we think, it is just that most of the time people dont say anything at least not publicly, they just say to themselves and their friends, ‘Ah they just banged on about resilience again, same as the last lot,’ and they and their friends and acquaintances never come back.
I would be really interested in hearing if anyone else has had a similar experience. it would also be great to hear any ideas that people have about how they got over this type of thing.