Challenging At The Edge LO20014

John Dicus (
Fri, 27 Nov 1998 11:36:27 -0500

A few months ago, I was watching a TV show telling about the Top Gun pilot
training school. Because of a past life wherein I helped develop reliable
engines for all sorts of aircraft, I had an interest in the ability of the
aircraft to be agile and maneuverable.

But I believe that I have a much greater interest these days in
understanding how organizations can be more agile and maneuverable.
Sometimes I would even settle for knowing how to help them "stay in the

Anyway, an instructor made a comment that has stayed with me. And after I
share that comment with you, I would invite you to share ways in which you
do (or seek to do) this in your own spheres of interaction -- as
facilitators, mentors, leaders... It's something I strive for --
hopefully coming close to the mark now and again.

The instructor said:

"Our instructors are among the absolute best pilots in the entire world.
And even thought the students in this school are considered to be the best
of the best, our instructors can literally fly rings around the students.

If we're not careful, an instructor could humiliate and discourage a
student. The result usually is poor learning and disengagement.

Our challenge is to fly just beyond the edge of the student's capability
-- continually stretching her or him to the next level. If we fly below
them, there is no learning. If we fly too far above the results are poor.
The skill is to know each student and to take them to their edges in an
enabling way.

It takes considerable time, but it's best way we know."

Warm regards,

John Dicus


John Dicus | CornerStone Consulting Associates -- Bringing Systems To Life -- 2761 Stiegler Road, Valley City, OH 44280 800-773-8017 | 330-725-2728 (2729 fax) |

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