I’m no rebel

I’m no rebel.

I am selfish though. I care about my personal development and when I want something I find ways to make it happen. I’m proper selfish like that. Recently I bought a Samsung Chromebook because I wanted it. Yes there were practical and justifiable reasons for buying it, but I wanted it.

So I have always actively sought proper personal development. I have been on some stellar training which gave me the skills to do some really cool things with my craft. I’ve been on training which I was not interested in in the least, mostly because it was a mandated course. I still learned things, and it helped give context to the work environment I was in.

Which got to a point where I needed more. But not just wanting more for myself. I felt and sought out development for the profession. I started going to external events with fancy titles. I learned lots and heard from really interesting people, but wasn’t challenged in myself. And I didn’t see a progression of development for the profession, I just saw ways of tinkering with the edges to have a better product. That’s not good enough.

I’m no rebel.

I have expectations. Forget them, though. I have professional responsibilities. I want a better profession? Right, I best make that happen then. Cos there sure as hell was no one out there making it happen. Not for the profession. They were doing it for themselves.

Cos we’re all self-serving really. Oh yes you are.

Fast forward and I had the high privilege of bringing together people to discuss the L&OD profession. An opportunity. An opportunity to combine my selfish desire for personal development and to share that experience with others.

We played with visual minutes, which was über cool. We created these by the end of the day.

Not everyone contributed and that was fine. They experienced it.

We played with fishbowl facilitation. This really got people shifting in their seats. A panel in the middle. An audience surrounding them observing, listening, and waiting for an invitation to discuss. The Twitter backchannel lit up with people in and out of the room contributing and making themselves heard.


I may have said that competency frameworks are a pile of shit and we need to get rid of them.

Honestly, I’m no rebel.

I just like to play with stuff. I’m selfish. It’s cos I’m an only child.

Someone asked me what I got from the day? And someone else called the L&D Connect community rebellious.

I like playing. I gave myself permission to keep playing. There are great ways to bring people together, to learn, to share, and to develop. I tried things out in an environment where I trusted people to have a go. They were kind of primed for that from the word go. They didn’t really know what was in store for them, and I didn’t really know what would happen. It was an opportunity.

But seriously, I’m no rebel.


Bold L&D

On Tuesday 26th November, the L&D Connect community is getting back together for its next event, called Bold L&D. I’m massively looking forward to this day. It’s a chance to connect with like minded people, have purposeful discussion and move things positively forward.

I wanted to share what we’re planning on doing, cos why wouldn’t I?

The day will consist of several things we’re going to be asking people to get involved with.

We like the idea of visual minutes, so we’re going to experiment with this as active participants as opposed to letting other people do it for us. This is exciting and scary all at the same time. I’m no artist, and my stick people are passable. Bring. It. On.

We’re going to video people talking and post straight up onto a YouTube channel. That’s right, we’re going to give people a platform to talk about their own thing. You don’t need to prepare anything in advance, and you can talk for as little or as long as you like. And yes, we’re expecting everyone to talk…

So far so social, different, and challenging.

We’re going to get people to participate in a live, social, interactive fishbowl dialogue. Enough said.

There’s time to have some jolly good open space discussions. This will be excellent and really fuel some thinking about our practice.

And we’re going to include some action planning. This sounds cliche, and what’s important to remember is that we know that unless people create clear plans of what they’re going to do, things are left very ethereal.

All of the above looks like an agenda and an order of events. It’s not intended to look that way. I just want to share what we’re planning. It’s a very flexible, and adaptable set of activities that will be determined by the group.

The last thing to probably mention is the ticket itself. You buy one ticket and get to invite two other people for no charge.

We’ve been posting things on our LinkedIn page, so keep an eye over there. The hashtag for the day will be #ldcu (L&D Connect Unconference).

Now, book your ticket.

Finger on the pulse vs fear of missing out

It’s a noisy world out there, and I tell you I’m finding it harder and harder to not stay tapped in. The fear of missing out is strong in this one.

It makes life hard. I have to consciously stay switched off when I’m with my family. How daft is that? I do it though. For my own sanity. But those thoughts of… “what is being said?”, “what graphic am I missing out on?”, “am I missing out on an important discussion?”. They don’t stop.

Step through to the L&D world and by God are we bombarded with stuff. Engagement this, evalaution that, facilitation here, management training there. There are thoughts being shared aplenty, and it’s relentless. I come across stuff, click the lnks, have about 20 tabs open of stuff I think needs to be read, and then wonder why I have a headache at the end of the day.

So we need space to think, to share thoughts, to share worries and woes. I want to make sure I have my finger on the pulse, else I become redundant. Not in my work, but as an individual. That’s why we’re on social media isn’t it? To be validated? It’s why I blog, right? Because I want to feel like my voice is being heard?

But I haven’t got time for qualifications, or accreditations, or any of that formal gumph. I’d love to dedicate time to formally develop, but I’ve just got too much on. That’s what you think too, isn’t it?

Communities can help in this regard. Looking out for the voices of people I trust and enjoy. They’re the ones who can guide me, ground me, and help me stay true to myself.

I’ll be alright. I’ll make a difference. Some people are just getting on and doing it. Others need to know if it’s the right way to go. I need to know if I’m pushing innovation enough. You want to network. You want to share your experience. I want to learn from you.

Let’s make it happen in one place. On 26th November, L&D Connect (#ldconnect) are coming back together for their third unconference called Bold L&D. It’s a full day this time, and the tickets are available with a twist. You buy one ticket and get to invite another two people for free. There’s a button up over there, or you can click here.

The L&D and Community kaleidoscope

I’m concerned about you my fellow L&Der. I see that you’re listening to things being said out there. I see that you’re interested in what others in the profession are talking about. And there’s plenty of things being talked about of interest. Some of it by internal practitioners, some of it by e-learning specialists, some of it by technology specialists, some of it by external practitioners. And they’re all saying and talking about different and interesting things.

There’s a whole blogging community who are dedicated to promoting their word. Some use social channels to spread their brand, their work, and their good name. For them, social media is a powerful mechanism for a gainful living. For others, social channels allow their voice to be heard, they spread a message, they build a following. And for others social channels are a way of hearing what’s being said out there. There’s a different way of thinking that they want to be exposed to because they recognise things need to be better but don’t know where to start.

When I came across the #connectinghr community, I was captured by the lack of interest in any agenda people may have had. It was (and remains) about bringing professionals together from all walks of HR (and beyond) who want to be able to share knowledge and talk about their work in meaningful spaces. I enjoyed what this released for me, and realised I needed more as an L&D professional. The idea of L&D Connect was born and with the help of others, a community rallied around and we pushed for more to happen as an L&D community. #ldconnect and #ldblogs was created as a result.

I’ve enjoyed that the people who have attended the two unconference sessions have come from all walks of L&D professional – all those mentioned above, and more besides. We come together and respect each other as professionals. Everything else is left at the door. Why does it matter, and who does it matter to? All we expect is that people get involved in the conversation when they’re ready. There’s opportunity for people to take part in the conversations that matter to them, and there’s no pressure to talk if you don’t want to. The social channels help amplify what’s being said in the room to those outside who want to be part of the conversation but can’t attend.

It’s all quite organic and fluid. It’s the most inclusive environment I’ve ever encountered. It’s the most engaged I’ve ever been with a group of other people. It’s focused on people dynamics and trusting people to lead where the conversation takes them.

This is at the heart of L&D. L&D is less about us as professionals and more about the people we’re working with. Communities like L&D Connect help us to see that trusting people dynamics trumps models and theories every time. Yes we may need to guide the conversation to happen in a certain way, but L&D isn’t about that input, it’s about the outcome. That outcome is paramount to a good learning event. That outcome is whatever the person involved decides. We can’t drive that. We can’t make it happen. We can have the discussion to help figure out the goal, and hopefully facilitate the journey to getting there, but that’s not in our control as much as we may want it to be.

Things like social learning, informal learning, e-learning, mobile learning, face to face learning, are all things we need to remain mindful of and aware of. I don’t pretend to know about a lot of these things. Partly because some of them don’t interest me, and partly because I’m trying to strengthen skills I already have. My cognitive load is already quite full. So what I’m aiming to do is lean on this network and listen to what they have to say.

They help me to understand more, and for that I’m grateful. It makes me a better L&Der, and it means I’m better at understanding what spectrum of knowledge I could and should be drawing on.

Does this sound like it works? It does. That’s all I can say. There’s plenty of talk about how social technologies are helping us to create and become part of communities that serve a greater good. I’m all for that, and it jives with my philosophy of life. We all have the ability, capability and capacity for doing good in our lives by helping others. If I can move to help others, I am fulfilled. This is my purpose.

So we come back to L&D Connect. We’re arranging to meet on Tuesday 23rd April. It’d be great to see you there. You can book your ticket here.