Guest Post: Collaboration to Light Up Your Day

Light Up My Day

As many of you know, I recently launched a learning and development company named Endurance Learning. My co-founder, Tim Waxenfelter, shared the following story with me a few weeks ago and I thought it would make an excellent guest blog post.

When it comes to instructional design, having someone to bounce ideas around with generally leads to many, many better outcomes than if I’m just sitting by myself thinking through the design of a session. Following are Tim’s observations and thoughts on the idea that two heads are better than one:

I’m very lucky to be able to have my whole family together every night for dinner. It is one of my favorite parts of the day. We have a tradition where we ask “what lit up your day?”   Continue reading

What’s Missing from ATD ICE?

Searching (Blank Face)

ATD’s annual international conference and expo began yesterday, and I have a feeling it’s missing something (and I’m not necessarily talking about me… although really, what good is a conference without me?).

I’ve been to several ATD conferences and a SHRM Talent Development conference over the past few years and they all seem to be missing something.

The crowds I’ve encountered at the ATD conferences have primarily included instructional designers, training program managers, classroom instructors and some independent consultants. The SHRM conference was primarily HR professionals – business partners, generalists, department heads and consultants.

I imagine it’s similar at major conferences for professionals in coaching or organizational development. On the one hand, it’s to be expected. These conferences, after all, are for specialized segments of the greater human performance field. On the other hand, none of these initiatives can be successful if professionals from across the human performance spectrum don’t have opportunities to cross-pollinate.

Recently, as I got involved in my local ATD chapter, I was given an opportunity to work on an annual program called the Allied Professionals Event, which will take place on June 9th in Seattle. I’m looking forward to it because it is the one night of the year when people from across these specialized areas – learning & development, human resources, coaching and organizational development – can all come together, spend some time networking and discussing what’s on their minds, and then listen to some of the region’s rock star executives in both HR and business operations speak to the impact of human performance initiatives on the people within their organizations.

If you’re in the Seattle area, I’d like to invite you to attend (here is the registration information) and I’d love to hear what you’re working on. If you’re someplace else in this world, I’d love to hear from you – have you found similar opportunities to engage with your counterparts from other areas of the human performance spectrum?

While I know large national conferences are organized for specialized groups that make up their membership, are they completely serving their members’ best interests with such a narrow focus across all conference programming?

What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Let’s hear it in the Comment section.

Know someone who might be interested in this type of initiative, please pass this along!

11 Lessons My Family Has Taught Me about Learning, Development, Facilitation, Collaboration and Change Management

  1. Saying “mom doesn’t need to know about our little trip to the store to get donuts (right before lunch)” never works… someone inevitably has loose lips and the boss will always find out when the rules have been bent (or broken)
  2. Potty training is an amazing lesson on effective (and ineffective) change management initiatives
  3. Sometimes just saying “thank you” is a lot better than trying to debate and defend yourself when feedback is given
  4. Sometimes it’s better to allow the walk to the park, which normally takes 15 minutes, to turn into a 45-minute nature expedition (exploring what happens when you blow on dandelions, picking up leaves, examining the difference between a crow and a robin, looking both ways before crossing the street) – indeed the process can be much more powerful than just focusing on the task at hand
  5. Even though I can read The Cat in the Hat much more quickly, my daughter will never learn to read if I don’t give her a chance to try it and work through the lengthy process of sounding out words for herself (this is exhibit A of why experiential training design is much more powerful than lecture)
  6. There may be a lot of things that need to be accomplished during the short, 2-day span of a weekend, but being sure to allow for downtime can sometimes be more productive than just having everything be “go, go, go” (no matter how much needs to be accomplished, building in breaks is crucial)
  7. Just because I’ve said “please clean up these toys” doesn’t mean the toys will be put away in the right place, in an orderly manner or in a place they will ever be found again… clear instructions (and even some modeling of the desired behaviors) are pretty important
  8. A head nod or a response of “uh huh” or “yes” doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re on the same page… more often than not it means “I’ll tell you what I think you want to hear if you’ll just leave me alone now”
  9. “Why do you think that is…” is a pretty good response to a 3-year-old’s perpetual repetition of the question “why?” (the old boomerang technique works every time!)
  10. Using candy, ice cream or prizes as a bribe may work in the short term (and sometimes this is a true life saver!), but can also create elevated expectations for extrinsic rewards going forward
  11. Spending some time getting everyone’s input and building a shared vision definitely takes longer but it is generally much better received than “…because I said so…”

The Train Like A Champion Blog is published Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  If you think someone else might find this interesting, please pass it along.  If you don’t want to miss a single, brilliant post, be sure to click “Follow”!  And now you can find sporadic, 140-character messages from me on Twitter @flipchartguy.

When SMEs Know Best: A Case Study of Instructional Design/SME Collaboration

When a technical expert approaches me to ask for help in putting together a presentation, I consider it one of the highest forms of a compliment I can receive.  Last week, I received such a compliment, and the result can be viewed as a model for instructional designer/SME collaboration.

The Context

A colleague had been asked to deliver a short presentation about her team’s work during a monthly all-staff meeting.  When this colleague approached me, she knew specifically what she wanted to accomplish and had some ideas about the scope and flow of the presentation and she shared the initial draft of her slide deck. Continue reading