Thursday, April 07, 2005

Haughton practices what he preaches

When you teach, it's challenge to practice what you preach.

I thought of that last Saturday morning when I was e-mailing Laurence Haughton to ask permission to use an excerpt from his book, It's Not What You Say... It’s What You Do – How Following Through at Every Level Can Make or Break Your Company.

It's Not What you Say... has an extremely practical section on teaching empathy on the job, based on the experience of the Union Square Hospitality Group in New York.

I've never met Haughton but I did a Google search on his name to see if I could find his e-mail address. I wanted permission to use an excerpt from his book as a handout for Evergreen Leaders' Listening Path Workshop.

I found his website and saw that he had not only recently published It's Not What you Say... but a couple years ago he had co-authored It's Not the BIG that Eat the SMALL...It's the FAST that Eat the SLOW: How to Use Speed as a Competitive Tool in Business.

As e-mailed Haughton I wondered if he practices what he preachers--if he uses speed as a competetive tool in business. I needed him to be fast because I wanted to use the excerpt in a workshop on Wednesday.

Haughton does practice what he preaches.

I e-mailed him on a Saturday morning and he responded within two hours. Not only did he respond but he said that he had checked out the Evergreen Leaders web site and sees that "we share a lot of the same guiding principles."

Then he added that he needed to check with his Currency Books editor in New York on Monday to get permission for Evergreen Leaders to use the excerpt. Late Monday he had permission from his editor and he e-mailed me the excerpt.

Haughton is fast.

The excerpt, "Reading Between the Lines" worked great. At EGL workshops folks sit at round tables, five per table, and we alternate between lectures and table action. I divided the hand out into five sections, numbered 1-5, and had each person read their section and then teach it to the rest of the people at their table in sequenece, 1-5.

The participants were all from an organization that serves adults with developmental disabilties in small group homes. After they had taught each other the hand out I had them share stories of of staff at their organization who use their heads, hearts, and courage to serve the folks they work with.

After they shared the stories I had them write headlines for the stories and post them on the wall.

There was great energy in the room as they taught "Reading Between the Lines", shared the stories, and did the headlines.

It was an honor to be on the Listening Path with these folks.