What the blogging figures?

So I’ve passed a fairly significant blogging milestone – 40,000 views. Nice.

As always, thanks for reading my thoughts. Most of what I blog about is quite specific, so to gain this milestone is seriously motivating.

When I pass figures like this, I find it a good point to reflect on how I got there, what I think it means for blogging, and any other useful information or insights that might occur to me.

40000 stats

First things first. This is not an amazing set of blogging figures. It’s about on par for most day to day bloggers. Some of the popular bloggers out there get these kinds of figures in a month – easily.

Passing 40,000 views has taken two and a half years of blogging effort. That’s not entirely easy yo! It means on average I post at least once a week, sometimes three times a week. If I’m at a conference then that’s up to four posts I’m publishing in one day. Last year I got 18,000 for the year, and this year looks like it might run to the same. That works nicely for me. I’m on a steady path and I’m still enjoying it.

I’ve actually been blogging for three and a half years, but transitioned over from Blogger in February 2011, that’s why it randomly starts then.

I don’t write for the numbers. If that were the case I’d be pushing content which was much more marketing in its focus. I’d also be going for the top tips for blogging like “5 key ways to train your staff” or “8 killer strategies for course design” – that’s the stuff which gets the big hits – apparently. I tend to write when there’s something to say and talk about in the L&OD profession. My readers are quite attuned to this and mostly follow me for that purpose. I do blog about other topics, and they are where I express myself in different ways.

The numbers suggest some kind of stabilisation over the last year. That is, I’ve hit a comfort zone of writing which regularly attracts a certain level of readership which is quite fluid in its nature. That’s cool by me. Some part of me wonders what it takes to create higher numbers for discreet postings. For example, some bloggers I know will push their content from months and years ago, thereby creating regular reasons to come back to their blog. Others have that kind of blogging presence which just attracts everyone and their dog. Most – like me I suspect – attract a core, and they fluctuate naturally.

Here’s a list of most searched terms that lead people to my blog:

Positive institutions – because I write things about positive psychology

Sikhism places of worship – because I wrote a post about “A snapshot of a Sikh wedding

Learnings in life – because Kate Griffiths-Lambeth wrote a guest post for me about “Life’s Learning Ladder“.

Positive psychology at work – because, unsurprisingly, I wrote a post about “Using positive psychology to create change at work“.

Manipulators body language – because I wrote about “The link between emotions and behaviours“.

Failure at work because I wrote about “Dealing with failure at work“.

Presentations on change because I wrote about “HRD11 Presentation on Change“.

And here are some random search terms:

solier full of stange oath and beared like the pard – you got me.

3 e’s in l&d – clearly.

prochaska’s changing for good – well good on you, prochaska. Hope it goes well for you.

I cannot stand rude people – quite.

Y’all have my gratitude in abundance 🙂

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Business minded L&D

So you know how we hear lot’s in the profession about being more business minded to give ourselves value? Well, I’m onboard with that as a concept and as an ideal. It helps me to understand there are things I can and should be doing which will help me to be better at the job I do. If I choose to.

But what does it mean to be more business minded? How do you get more commercial acumen? How do you gain business acumen? As an L&Der, does this stuff actually make a difference to the job we do?

Well, it can make a big difference. It’s what sets ‘trainers’ apart from ‘L&D professionals’. To my mind, there’s a role for both in organisations.

We need trainers. That is people who are proficient (or even possible expert) in a particular skill set, and can help others learn that skill set. That’s all we need them for. They come in, deliver the training and leave. In terms of evaluation, they’re lucky if they get happy sheets completed, and a sign of success is if they’re brought back for more sessions in the future. They may call themselves consultants to feel better about their product, but titles don’t really matter in this regard. If someone comes in and delivers training, I expect a fairly high standard of delivery, mostly because I’ve helped to commission them, and so the return on expectation as well as return on investment needs to be quite high. In terms of tailoring their content to meet the needs of the training, I would fully expect this to happen, with a full consultation about how to make it relevant for the people involved.

L&D professionals need to be good trainers. Not effective, but good. I know, I know, how do you quantify good from effective. Let’s not go there today. Training is a core part of what L&Ders do. Then there’s the rest of what comes with the territory.

L&Ders have to be consultative about the organsiation itself. That is, they need to be going out there and finding out just what the different parts of the organisation do on a day to day basis. It’s one thing knowing that retail planning is all about floor space and how much rack space is optimum for different products, it’s another thing knowing why and how they’ve come up with those equations, and how does that affect brand success and thereby retail success. That meat on the bones, that’s the shit which makes things happen in organisations. It doesn’t matter if you’re in retail, professional services, manufacturing or healthcare. Getting to the core of each part of the organisation is one of the key ways to understand how the organisation becomes successful. This is one of the steps to business acumen.

Talking with the leaders is another key part in the mix. The people leading the organisation are the ones who have stories to share, and their stories are worth heeding well. In those stories are nuggets of information which provide context to a lot of what you see happening around you. The culture is like this because. The process is like this because. The success of the organisation is like this because. The leadership is like this because. It doesn’t matter which level of leadership you engage with, as long as you get a range of stories. That’s what helps you get under the skin of the organisation. Once you’re there, you’re part of the fabric. You’ve become part of the story, and whatever you do in your time will help to mould that story. Those leaders will help craft it continually, and they’re the ones to keep listening to. Doesn’t mean you have to act on everything you hear, just listen.

Get a sense of what the press, social networks and media are saying about the organisation. How is it doing? How is it perceived to be doing? How are people talking about the organisation? What’s the recruitment like? What’s the brand like? What’s the message people leave with when interacting with the organisation? This is all valuable information. It helps to craft more stories you can use to help you understand about the organisation.

Read business related material. Be this from the likes of Harvard Business Review, the Financial Times, a business book, a blog, or listening to BBC Radio 4, you have to be in the know about current affairs. It’s what affects organisations daily. Understanding the strengths and pressures being faced in society can help to inform you of what your organisation might be facing. It’s not to be underestimated how savvy the people at the top are. They’re tapped into these conversations readily. You need to be to.

Those four things, they provide L&D with the basis of how to be business minded. The next step is probably the hardest. Aligning what you do to the organisations goals. From everything I’ve described above, you have the knowledge – the acumen – to be good at what you do. To then take the organisations goals and create meaningful aligned L&D goals is hard. You might think you want to create a course on Time Management, and it might be needed, but which organisational goal does it relate to? How about that leadership workshop? That e-learning provider? Those external trainers? The training budget spend? Which areas of the organisations goals can you draw a clear line of sight to for all of these things and more? Once you can do that, that’s when you’ve got it sussed. And if you’ve done that – can you share that success story with the rest of us? Cos that’s like the golden egg right there.

Other things like creativity, innovation, technology, social learning, informal learning, all become part of the mix, and can make for a highly effective L&Der. But those things come with the continued CPD every L&Der needs to be maintaining in their own way.

I navel gaze with the best of them

Hello. I’m starting to wind down from blogging for the year. It’s time to take off the hat and let things calm down. Who wants to read about L&D strategies, woes in Organisation Development and about positive psychology in the lead up to Christmas?! Well some of you might want to, but I rather think my blogging energy has waned this week and I should just take time off. There will be another 11 months of the year in 2012 to worry about keeping y’all interested.

And on the topic of keeping you coming back, I’d very much appreciate if you could complete the survey below. I enjoy a good old bit of navel gazing. It’s my comfort blanket and feeds my over-thinking mind. So help keep a blogger warm, huh?

I’ll most likely not post now until the new year, so I wish you a Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year. Enjoy the time, however you choose to spend it, and I’ll see you in 2012 🙂

Click here to take survey

>I’m a dreamer

>In the world I live in, we are all capable of doing great things, birds are singing, children play happily and safely, work is meaningful and everything is rose tinted. So that’s an insight into my value set. Ok I’m being facetious, but you can see what I’m saying. But that’s how I think about the world. Which is also why I’m such a believer in positive psychology as I’ve mentioned so many times before.

In this rosy world I live in, I also believe in complete openness and transparency. Even down to revealing personal foibles. I’m not a negative person, and I don’t (well I try not to) judge others for any reason. And I’m not talking about diversity here, I’m talking just day to day stuff. A street beggar, the newspaper you read, the clothes you wear. I may take the piss, but I won’t judge you for it.
Anyway, back to this world of openness and transparency. There’s been many a time when I’ve thought to myself – am I too open? Do you need to know half of the things I talk about? And come on, I do talk a lot of shit. I know that, but is it ok? Actually the fundamental question is this:
Am I putting the sense of professionalism you may hold about me into question when I tweet completely non-work / non-industry related things?
A while back (June me thinks?) I posted a tweet asking should I have 2 separate accounts. One for personal ramblings, and one for the professional / industry / work related stuff?
You may think this is navel gazing stuff, and here’s why it is. I have no problem in being open with the world. Especially now that I engage in social media type stuff so much. And I’ve talked on blogs before about how your career is now open to the world to see, and most people will accept that to be the case. So I’m interested in your opinion on this:
Should I have a ‘professional’ me, a ‘personal’ me, or stick to what I have (or something else)?