Follow Richard on Twitter: @RicharArOC
Richard focuses on overall process improvement for Ovation, acting as the liaison between client and consultant. He aides in overseeing training logistics, and ensures that our trainers and participants have everything they need to succeed in the training room. As a communications professional, he has keenly observed what works and what fails in delivering messages and achieving intended results among listeners. He uses these skills to implement effective solutions, outlining a smooth and impactful training experience for all. Richard has B.A. in English and Education from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He's also rabid theater goer in the Boston and NY theater scene.
What’s one thing you wish the business world would borrow from the acting world?
Business world decision makers need to improve their listening skills when their audience is giving them feedback, just as actors listen and respond to their audience.
Theater audiences, like business customers, are never wrong.
If an audience likes what it sees, those audience members recommend a performance to their friends and come back and see the performance again and again.
If an audience thinks a show sucks, the creators and the directors are standing by to make adjustments every day til they get it right.
Actors and producers are totally committed to responding to the audience, and they are nimble about making changes til they give their audience an outcome that resonates. The product is flexible enough to respond to customer preferences, and actors are quick about making changes.
What do you consider your personal trademark as a trainer?
In responding to managers’ who request skill building for their direct reports, my verbal contract with those managers is always the same: (1) Do classroom participants know why they are attending training? (2) Do the managers model the behaviors that will be expected of the classroom participants? (3) Are the managers willing to provide ongoing feedback and support when classroom participants return to the workplace after training? and (4) What are the post-training consequences when classroom participants fail to practice new behaviors on the job?
Change is hard. Classroom participants need direction and support before and after attending training classes.
What is your most marked characteristic?
I hear people when they speak. I really listen. I instinctively summarize and paraphrase what I understand that they are saying. I ask open-ended questions. I verify that I comprehend other people’s perspective before I respond. I am the very definition of an active listener. I can’t help it. It comes naturally. And I highly value this attribute in others.
What is your personal motto?
What gets written down---and shared clearly and succinctly among stakeholders---gets done. You may not solve world hunger or deliver world peace through documentation and sharing, but you help others understand what’s expected and build confidence in your commitment along the way to reaching your goals.
What is your most treasured possession?
My dog Frankie is my most treasured “possession.” The first dog I have ever “owned,” Frankie is a spirited rescue dog, a Sato, from “Dead Dog Beach” in San Juan. At the adoption, I understood that he is a mix of yellow lab and terrier. After getting him home, I realized the adoption agency had said yellow lab and terrorist.
During the initial months, Frankie and I came to understand one another and agreed to live by certain rules, some of which he permitted me to have input on. After more than two years, I’m happy to say that the “possession” is mutual. We “own” one another, and it’s a lifelong contract for which I am thankful every day.