I read an excellent article about a course taught at the Stanford University School of Business since 1968, Interpersonal Dynamics, more commonly known as “Touchy Feely”. Immensely popular, more than 90% of Stanford MBA students take the course.
In the article, the author states that “the premise of the signature course is that strong relationships with others are a vital part of effective management, and that becoming a better manager requires an ability to forge those relationships. Students in Touchy Feely learn how their behavior affects others in real time, and they practice leadership skills and get immediate, raw peer feedback. They learn, in the end, to connect across differences.”
Many of us are familiar with “Crucial Conversations”, which started as a highly acclaimed book and became a very popular training program across the Fortune 500. The course provides tools to use when critically important initiatives require all involved to understand the stakes and provide needed effort to ensure success.
With Millenials in the workforce looking for more transparency from management and an environment of open, honest communication, and now Generation Z, with its focus on an all-inclusive, respectful workplace culture, Touchy Feely may be ready for corporate America.
Let’s face it, most professionals yearn to know what others truly feel about them. Feedback coming from “a good place” can be a transformative event which can be as important, if not more so, than any canned management development course.
Read the article and I challenge my HR colleagues to seek out organizations that can help facilitate this type of a program.