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Chronicles from a Caribbean Cubicle

10/23/2005

Hidden Camera

How is this for an idea that's way out there?

I have seen (and used) the tremendous power of the kind of training that gives the trainee a direct look at themselves. We humans long for a good look at ourselves, and yearn to see ourselves as others see us. Looking in a mirror is only so useful, because the moment we catch ourselves looking, we shape things up.

While feedback based on the direct observation of others can be useful (and is always biased), there is nothing as effective as seeing our own actual behaviour on tape. At that moment, our habits and behaviours that do not work are obvious and plain to see.


In the Caribbean we have front-line service workers who specialize in delivering "Service with a Scowl," "Screw-face Service" or "The Mash-up Face Treatment."

It's occurred to me that these workers have absolutely no idea what they are doing with their faces or bodies. They probably can't imagine the experience that is left in the minds of their customers.

Why not video-tape a front-line worker, using a mystery shopper, as a way of training the worker, by starting with new awareness?

Well, not so fast.... an employee would have to know that this tape could be created at any time, even if for training purposes.

This could be remedied by including mystery shopper video-taping as a formal tool for training and feedback. In other words, employees would have to know that at some point they could be taped for their own development.

For employees that were hired without that understanding, companies would have to gain the employee's agreement before proceeding.

Only then could the employee be open to the message that's on the tape, and use it as learning experience par excellence, rather than just high-tech bad news.

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