Do you have any favorite quotations? Ones that you’ve used or referred to for most of your adult life?  Do you use them repeatedly in conversation? Do you have them framed on the walls of your home or your office?

I know that in my family, we have favorite quotes that we’ve used for years among my wife, my two sons, and myself.  Some of them relate to family trips from the distant past. Others reflect things we have learned in school or in life. Others derive from my leadership coaching, such as “up until now,” or my years of teaching “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,”such as “let’s be proactive,” or ”that’s important but not urgent – Quadrant 2!”

One of my favorite quotes is from that renaissance man, Benjamin Franklin.  Ben is known as a diplomat, an inventor, a philosopher, a negotiator, and a patriot.  He’s also known for coming up with many memorable quotes.

My favorite is:
“Tell me and I forget
Teach me and I remember
Involve me and I learn”

I saw this quote reflected during my 32 years running the Georgetown Law Center Continuing Legal Education program.  Many years ago, a great majority of speakers did just that: they spoke, they lectured and they talked to the audience.  The attendees at conferences had to take copious notes in order to remember what the speakers said. At that time, we required written papers from all speakers so attendees at conferences could read those papers later and hopefully learn.

However, the more I learned, the more I realized that lecture is probably the least effective form of adult education.  Please don’t lecture your teammates!

As time went on, technology changed and speakers started using more effective slides and really became familiar with and utilized PowerPoint.
Effective use of PowerPoint appealed to the visual learners as well as the auditory learners.

However, in my three decades of adult education at Georgetown, the most powerful and effective program with which I was ever involved was the National Institute for Trial Advocacy.  NITA believes strongly in the learn-by -doing method.

Students are not lectured to. They’re not shown what to do. They actually have to stand up and perform in front of peers and faculty members.  Every single student is involved in his or her own learning from the beginning of the program to its conclusion.

So when we as leaders strive to help our teammates grow, it’s important that we involve them in their own learning. It’s important that we force them to think. It’s important that we motivate them to reflect and ponder.

How can you involve your teammates in their own learning?

-Start a book club within your office focused on important subjects meaningful to everyone
-Ask teammates to take responsibility for running and documenting meetings, a terrific way to teach them these skills -Have teammates take responsibility for researching a particular topic and then making a presentation to the entire team
-Ask teammates to research guest speakers who could come in to your workplace and make decisions about which speaker would be most appropriate
-When commencing a new project, break your team up into sub-teams so teammates can work with each other and learn from each other
-When considering hiring vendors, have teammates interview appropriate contenders and make a presentation with their recommendations to the team

These are just a few examples of strategies I have used in the past to involve my teammates in the their own learning. It works! If you’d like to discuss this learning strategy in greater detail, please reach out to me. I’d be happy to discuss!