You Cannot Teach Just Anyone, To Anything

You cannot just do anything, you can’t become just anyone, the same as you cannot learn anything, but it matters a lot what “teacher” you have. “If you want you can become the President of the United States” it’s a surreal movie line and the reality out there confirms that very few can succeed.

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I say this every chance I get: it’s not enough to wish something in order to accomplish it or to get yourself exhausted trying to become someone. It’s obvious it helps a lot, but is not enough. Moreover, you have to be naturally endowed and have the brains for it…

All the goodwill in the world won’t help you to get taller when you are genetically programmed to be short. You may be very good at what you do, even when you cannot reach the door arch.

In order to be successful you must find a field that suits you and get out of your head that no matter what you do, you will be world champion in that particular field. If that would be the case, all men would be good at something, which is impossible. Out of ten drivers, they cannot be all good; even if they are convinced they are the best.

If someone doesn’t wish to learn something, you simply cannot teach them, no matter what you do. You can try to teach your subordinates different things, but if they don’t want to learn, you won’t be successful. It’s true that the simple fact that you need to go further as a business so you won’t get devoured by the competition, means that your employees will need to make the same progress. This applies even to those that have occupied the same position for the past decade.

It’s not enough to put passion into what you do, because this doesn’t necessarily mean you are talented at what you do, you must also evolve. The reality is not everyone wishes to evolve and without putting the blame on them, you should respect their decision.

If you invite a number of persons for a workshop that teaches something new even about their job, you’ll notice you have a smaller number of participants (as percentage) out of all those invited. It’s quite normal.

Remember how during school hours you didn’t pay attention, because you didn’t find it interesting or you didn’t see the future benefits to make you listen.

What can you do about the employees that don’t want to be taught:

  • Point to them the areas for improvement and the deadline to reach the requested level;
  • Explain why they need to learn that thing, not necessarily the hard way, though fear driven motivation is sometimes efficient (it won’t hold on the long run);
  • Establish some learning objectives and highlight the progress they made;
  • Teach by example. Always!
  • If they are very good at what they do, help them reach the next level, even if it’s something “collateral” or has no connection with present requirements. You can be a very good facilitator.

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Zig Ziglar

Those who won’t learn won’t do it, and if this doesn’t affect the daily activity not only you cannot intervene, but you don’t have any reasons to do it. You are there to help, but they need to want to be helped.  

If they haven’t reached the level requested by the job, they must evolve, it’s not negotiable.

Getting back to school, there are teachers from whom you enjoy learning, while others make you tired. If teachers changed subject, the good ones will still be appreciated. Any similarity to your boss is purely coincidental.

Good luck succeeding!