Archive for category Show Your Work

Three Things Worth Sharing This Week – 17 May 2019

Austin Kleon – my muse

Satya Nadella

I’ve recently finished reading Satya Nadella’s memoir, Hit Refresh. A leader with inspiring vision who sees and lives empathy, purpose and learning as critical to personal and organisational growth.  I will continue to draw on his thinking and examples in my work on Building Learning Culture.  A colleague who works for LinkedIn Learning (who are owned by Microsoft) proudly showed me his employee version of Nadella’s memoir.  It includes highlights and marginalia in Nadella’s handwriting.  Nadella has given a beautiful gift to the Microsoft workforce both in a physical sense and, far more importantly, in engaging the to creating an organisation they can feel connected to and proud of.

Arun Pradhan’s Approach to A Conference Panel

It’s 3 weeks until the Australian Workplace Learning Conference.  The expansive, forward-thinking Arun Pradhan is hosting a panel on ‘Learning Trends.’  Panels can be a bit boring … but not this one!  He’s making it engaging with audience polling (ranking scale from ‘bullshit’ to ‘bloody transformative’) and a human ‘likert scale.’ (Did his panelists know what they were in for when they agreed to this?  And how did they react to being called ‘opinionated’ – albeit softened with ‘able to argue their point.’). Then he tops it off by working out loud and asking what buzzwords people think should be included in the trends list.  What can I say? I love this guy!

Austin Kleon – Subscribe to His Newsletter

Austin Kleon’s newsletter.  My very favourite newsletter.  The one I read most often.  It’s a weekly collection of what he’s been reading, watching, listening to, doing, writing about.  Kleon is an artist who ‘shows his work’ (also the title of one of his books).  He is an inspiration for me to show my own work more (a work in progress), a source of ideas and creativity, and a  role model who encourages me to lift my own practices.  This newsletter expands my thinking, my practice and my world.

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Where to Post

I have a new website being setup in May.  Yesterday I was reviewing posts on my current business site to decide which ones to move to the new site. A dilemma I’ve struck before reared it’s head again.  I’m uncertain where to put my daily dispatches (aka Working Out Loud) posts.  I’m concerned about putting them on my main blog page as they will potentially detract from the stronger opinion pieces and calls to action related to my services.  However, WOL posts do contribute to the change I want to make through my business – about enabling more fluid, agile, high impact learning.

As I reviewed past WOL posts yesterday I realised it has given me a lot of pleasure to create and revisit them.  I thought I could use my personal website for them instead.  In the morning I posted that I was going to Live Out Loud on my personal website … and that felt like the right thing to do for several hours.

I went about my day, then returned to reviewing WOL posts on my current business website in the evening.  I had to decide for each post whether it would move to my new business website or be archived.  I couldn’t bear the thought of any of it disappearing into the ether forever.  At the very least I wanted it archived – to know I could access and reuse it if I wanted.  It was really hard to figure out what to do with each post.

It hit me that I had tried this once before.  In late 2017 I moved my WOL posts to a separate website.  Then I moved them back again.  The key reason I moved them back to my business site was authenticity and integrity.  In part the strength and value of my work is related to me visibly practicing what I advocate, for all to see regardless of my relationship or potential relationship with them.

Earlier this year I engaged a marketing strategy and support agency, Unusual Comms, to help me.  They reviewed my website.  Their comment on my Daily Dispatches page was

  • It’s unclear the specific purpose this page serves – especially as there is no overview.
  • The posts read like informal blogs, so it’s not clear why they need a separate page to your blogs.
  • If you’re planning to keep up the daily dispatches then I would make clear through an overview what these are so it’s clear to visitors why they aren’t included in your blogs. Or alternatively these could be included on your blog page.

I’ve decided to go with the last piece of advice.  I’ll keep the page and provide an overview.

However, I also like the idea of using my personal site again.  I created a flowchart to help me make consistent decisions about what goes where.  I’ve just applied it to figure out that this post belongs on my Daily Dispatches page.

Note to self – Keep this flowchart stuck to the wall in front of my desk.  While not locking myself in to this as a ‘forever’ strategy, stop thinking about it for the foreseeable future and just get on with it.

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What I Learned in November 2018

November was an extraordinarily busy month for me, with abundant learning opportunities in the course of my work.  The three I’ve picked for this month’s ‘What I Learned’ video are:

1. How I Learn – spoiler alert – mostly through my work, collaboration and conversation with others.  Here is a link to Learning Uncut podcast home page – the Professional Development special I refer to in the video will be out on 8 January 2019.

2. The Transformation Curve – research from Towards Maturity about the transformation journey in becoming a Learning Organisation. Here is a link to the webinar that I co-hosted with Laura Overton from Towards Maturity on learning transformation that provides further detail on the Transformation Curve.

3. A new research report from Good Practice about the evolution of 70:20:10 that explores how this idea / concept / framework is being applied in organisations.

Full transcript is below the video.

Video Transcript

Hi, it’s Michelle Ockers. Welcome to my What I Learned in November 2018 video, where I reflect on three things I’ve learned every month. I do this as a way of encouraging others to reflect on their own learning and recognize that we all learn on a continuous basis.

  1. How I Learn

Which leads me to my first reflection on learning for the month. I did a podcast, recorded a podcast episode of Learning Uncut, which I co-host with Karen Moloney. We were doing a special on professional development, which will be published or aired on the 8th of January, 2019.

In this episode, rather than talk to a guest about a project they’ve worked on, we actually had a discussion joined by Neil Von Heupt, who had over four years as Program Manager with the Australian Institute of Training and Development.

We basically drew on the answers of our guests from 2018 to the question, “what’s the biggest thing you do for your own professional development?” We also reflected on the answer to that for ourselves and what 2018 has looked like.

What I realized is, I have done next to no formal learning in 2018, but gosh, I’ve learned a lot and gotten a lot better at what I do. And the way I’ve done that is through my work and through collaboration and conversation with others. I give an example of that in the podcast. So it helped me to learn a bit more about my own learning style, which is very practical, very application driven, and very collaborative.

  1. The Learning Transformation Curve

The second thing I learned was related to a big shift in my business that I’ve been working on for some time and that I announced in November, and that is a partnership with Towards Maturity, who are based in the UK. I won’t go into the details of that partnership. That has been announced on my website and also in an article on LinkedIn if you want to take a look.

But one of the things I did as part of launching that partnership this month was a webinar with Laura Overton from Towards Maturity, where we talked about learning transformation and how to make a breakthrough in your learning transformation journey.

In the process of preparing for the webinar, I really got to dig into the most recent Towards Maturity research from their last annual report, The Transformation Curve, which looked at what is the transformation journey? What is the typical pattern of the transformation journey in Learning and Development as we seek to add strategic value and move to the right to become a learning organization?

And what that research showed is that it’s not a straightforward path. It’s not a linear progression. It’s actually more like a series of S-curves which come from product innovation and the product lifecycle as you take an idea or a level of performance, you introduce something, you go through a growth period, it matures. Then if you don’t do something differently, you start going into decline, just like the product life cycle.

But the data that Towards Maturity have from their benchmark of over 7,500 Learning and Development leaders over a period of 15 years, shows that you can make certain choices at these pivot points between stages on the maturity curve that will move you forward and move you into the next stage. And they’ve identified four stages which we unpacked in the webinar, reported in The Transformation Curve.

I really feel well equipped now in the work I’m doing with Towards Maturity to be able to look at where an organization is on the Transformation Curve and talk not just about generally what people are doing at that most mature stage, but what you need to do now to move forward from the point you are at. So I’m going to share a link to the webinar recording both on my blog site and on YouTube, underneath this particular What I Learned video for anyone who’s interested in taking a look. Or you can just get in touch straight, directly with me if you want to have a chat about the Transformation Curve and what I have learned through the Towards Maturity research about the process of having a greater impact and transforming learning in organizations.

  1. 70:20:10 Research

The third thing I learned that I’d like to talk about is some recent research by Good Practice on 70:20:10, called The Evolution of 70:20:10. Now for anyone who is not aware, if you are a Learning professional, you’re probably going to be aware of this shorthand way of referring to the key ways that people learn. So I’m not even going to use these numbers again. What I’m going to tell you is, people learn formally and they learn informally as they work through their experience and from interactions, conversations, connections, collaboration with others.

I think it’s time we stopped talking about this particular framework. It is clear from this piece of research that it’s been applied across most organizations. It impacts the work of many learning professionals in a range of ways. It’s not a prescription. It’s a nudge, if you like, or a starting point to encourage us to look at a broader ways of approaching the sustainment and enablement of learning in our organizations and enriching our own roles and the working lives of those we’re there to support.

So moving forward, my thinking is this report shows us that the approach is embedded, that it’s very flexible, it’s not prescriptive, that there’s a whole range of ways, depending on our specific context, that we can engage with learners and learning and empower people to learn in our organizations. So let’s move on from the debate and just get on with our role in this broader, more enjoyable, more enriching way.

This is going to be my last What I Learned video for the year. So thank you to those of you who’ve been watching these videos. Hopefully, some of you are getting some value out of them. I’m hoping it inspires people to actually share what they’re learning more broadly as a way of role modelling and opening up the conversation around learning in whatever networks, organizations, interactions you move in.

Have a safe and happy Christmas, and I look forward to engaging more with everybody in 2019.

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Webinar Evaluation Metrics

I’ve recently started delivering public webinars.  At this point I’m delivering them with partners.  One of my partners asked how I would measure the success of our webinar.  I hadn’t given this any thought.  However, I could see the value in evaluating them.

I started by looking for an existing tool I could use or adapt.  My research consisted of online search and asking my online network.  Here are links to my question posed on Twitter and LinkedIn.  If you are interested you can view the responses by following discussion threads from original post.  The LinkedIn discussion is the most valuable.

Most useful tip I received (from several people) was to determine my objectives for the webinar.  Use this to decide what to measure.

At this point I am running webinars to (1) provide useful, actionable information on selected topics to learning professionals, and (2) generate ongoing conversation with them about how I can help them to transform learning in their organisation.  The first goal is education.  The second goal is marketing.

With this in mind I reviewed online resources.  Thanks to @roseg on Twitter for helping me find articles on the topic.  The two most useful posts I found for my purposes are:

From the LinkedIn discussion I learned (amongst other things):

  • Webinar tools have in-built metrics.  I am currently using Zoom Webinar.  The reporting functionality is basic.
  • No-one was aware of a generic tracker (and there were experts who I trust on this point in the LinkedIn conversation).
  • It’s important to track engagement during the webinar.  Can be done in a variety of ways.
  • Perhaps the most important metric is audience retention. How many people are still in the webinar at the end of the session? (One seasoned webinar presenter suggested this was the key metric he looked at.)  Also, look for drop off points by noting number of people on webinar at 15 minute intervals.  Think about what might be leading to drop-offs?

It’s worth noting that the people who engaged in LinkedIn discussion are predominantly learning professionals.  Their interest / perspective was about what happened during the webinar and how participants apply content.  I supplemented their input with the marketing considerations from resources I found online.

At this point I’ve created a tracker in Excel.  The metrics on this first version of my tracker are listed below.  You can view it online (and download it if it’s of any value to you).  If you do use it I’d appreciate your feedback and suggestions for improvement. I will refine it or evolve to something else.

I’ve yet to figure out how to measure click through rate (i.e. number of people who registered for webinar compared with no. who clicked to registration page).  I may need to change some of the tools I’m using for marketing and registration of webinars.

Potential future additions:

  • Audience interaction
  • Exit surveys
  • Source of webinar registrations
  • Webinar Costs
  • Attendee to qualified lead conversion rate

Big thanks to people who offered to share resources and/or experience with me, especially:

  • Matthew Mason – looking forward to chatting about how xAPI could be used for this purpose
  • David Smith – (digital and virtual world guru) – who offered a discussion
  • Donald H Taylor – who offered to share his research on tracking numbers

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What I Learned In October 2018

I did something different with my monthly ‘What I Learned’ video for October.  I was inspired by the impact of brevity on my blog writing.  My wonderful publicity / blogging mentor, Katie Mac, set me a challenge.  My writing was weighed down with very long sentences.  Katie gave me a constraint.  No more than 13 words per sentence.  What?!  Write an 800-word blog post with no sentences longer than 13 words.  Is that even possible?  It is!

I was delighted with the impact on my writing.  It’s clearer, punchier and easier to read.  See for yourself in the post I wrote.

Constraints encourage creativity.

My previous ‘What I Learned’ videos have been over eight minutes.  This month I strove for brevity.  I cover three things in less than 2 ½  minutes.

  1. Brevity and constraints – see above.
  2. Using Mailchimp confidently.
  3. Fundamental knowledge about puppy psychology and physiology. For a dose of cuteness watch from 1:33min  to meet Bella, my Yorkipoo.

I normally record my monthly video on a digital camera and edit in iMovie.  To support my goal of brevity I made this video using Apple Clips.  This was the first time I used this tool.  I thought it would be a quicker process.  It was.  I was also interested in the automated sub-titling.  The automated sub-titles are reasonably accurate, but not perfect.  However, since making this video have learned I can I edit the sub-titles. Overall, I was pleased with Apple Clips and will continue using it.

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What I Learned in August 2018

Using Personas in My Work

I’ve noticed that I’m using personas, especially the empathy mapping component, more frequently and fluidly in my work.  I posted a daily dispatch about this in late August.  I often share this introduction to empathy mapping with others if they are curious or I want to use the tool with them.

Use of an Online Collaboration Tool

I recently project managed the refresh of the Learning and Performance Institute’s Learning and Development Capability Map (yeah – it’s a mouthful – #LPICapMap rolls off the tongue easier).  The updated Map will be live in October 2018.  Our process evolved during the project and we realised that we needed to engage experts and leading practitioners around the globe to write or update skill descriptions.  We had a limited timeframe for our 40+ volunteers to produce their deliverable.  I set up a Slack group and added a channel for each working group.  I’m convinced that using this tool was critical to enabling the working groups to effectively work together under tight deadlines, and we would never have me the deadline if we had used email alone.

A Quiz a Day

This is a non-work example of learning as a by-product of an activity that has many other purposes – amongst them a bit of family fun.  I recently stayed with my parents overnight.  My 92 year old grandmother lives with them.  After dinner every evening my mum gets the daily quiz from the newspaper and whoever is there joins in answering the questions.  It’s great with social bonding, helps keep my grandmother’s brain active, and we all get to learn a little something and feel closer in the process.  Thank you Mum!

Your Turn

What about you?  What is something you’ve learned recently?  How have you been learning?  What group activities do you build learning into or see it as an incidental outcome?

What could you share with others?  (Nudge for all the leaders reading this – sharing your learning with your team is a great way to role model and encourage continuous learning.)

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My Weekly Personal Work and Learning Plan

In late April 2018 Helen Blunden wrote a blog post ‘Create Your Own Personal learning Plan.’  She included a downloadable template.  I wanted to try using her template, but was travelling at the time without ready access to a printer.  I hand-drew up her template in a notebook and started using it (I love starting fresh notebooks so this action gave me a burst of enthusiasm).  Each weekend I fill in the template in my notebook with the things that I feel are most important to accomplish in the coming week.

My first weekly template:

Of course, this template is incomplete as a planning tool for it does not include any scheduling or capacity management.  However, I’ve found it a useful part of my planning process.  It helps me to make conscious choices about what aspects of my work and learning to progress each week.  I supplement it with my calendar and to do list (for which I use the 2Do app).

I’ve evolved the template over the four months I’ve been using it to cover both work and learning.  It made sense to do this as the two are closely integrated for me (and many others, although not everyone recognises this).  I am constantly learning through my work, and find it important to have a project to apply new knowledge and skills to as part of my learning process.  In some instances that project is to create a piece of content (a blog, a video) that forces me to ‘sense-make’ and synthesise new knowledge with my experience and prior knowledge.

My current weekly template:

I tend to get very consumed by my work.  For balance I’ve included some categories specifically for personal, non-work activities.  Now that I’ve stopped travelling and am settling into a new city I will probably add a category for a hobby or relaxation.

I’ve had a couple of challenges using the template.  The first is that I put more on my list each week than I can complete.  At times I’ve simply extended the completion period to two weeks.  I may try to reduce the template to a single A4 page to force me to reduce the number of activities listed each week.

The second challenge is that having the weekly plan in a notebook reduces visibility.  Often I did not look at the completed template until late in the week, when I would realise that I had missed opportunities to focus on the items I’d listed.  In the past month I’ve started an informal ‘Mastermind’ check-in with a friend.  This session helps hold me accountable for the key actions I’d committed to in the previous Mastermind session, and to clarify what is most important in the coming week.  I now complete my template immediately after the Mastermind session, and am conscious of referring to it more frequently during the week as I feel a stronger sense of accountability to my Mastermind buddy.

New location for my weekly template:

 

Today I copied this week’s completed template and pinned it on a noticeboard that sits on my newly set up desk.  It’s definitely more visible, and I expect this will improve progress on the activities I list each week.

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Michelle Works Out Loud – A Tool to Capture & Communicate What You Know

Today’s daily dispatch is about a tool I use to help me record and communicate things I know.  It’s called a pink sheet.  I was introduced to pink sheets in a business school program that I’m currently undertaking.  After several months of using them I’ve finally gotten the hang of the template and am finding it a useful way to capture my body of knowledge in a subject area and figure out how to communicate it in a more rounded way.

The template is shown on the left.  The idea is to convey a single key point on one page in a range of ways.

Moving vertically through the template from top to bottom the point is presented from big picture through to detail as follows:

  • Context – big picture, what’s it about
  • Concept – what does it mean, explained using a brief statement followed by a short explanation of the statement
  • Content – detail and specifics that illustrate the point

Moving horizontally, left and right brain thinking are covered as follows:

  • Left  –  studies, statistics and a model
  • Right – metaphor and stories

Here is a completed template to illustrate how the elements come together.  You can take a closer look at a PDF version of this pink sheet.  Note that it’s not ‘perfect’ – it’s a working document that can be used as source content for a range of purposes.  As I use the material I can continue to refine and improve it.  When I find new research or a better metaphor for instance I can add it to a pink sheet.

I can also ‘layer’ pink sheets, going deeper into a specific element of a high level pink sheet.  For example, there are several different elements in the model on this sample pink sheet.  For each of these elements one or more further pink sheets can be created to drill down into these elements.  Over time a set of interconnected sheets is built up.

Another very elegant aspect of pink sheets is that I can combine different sets of pink sheets in a subject area as required to create a presentation, a workshop, a paper, even a mentoring program or, in time, a book.  It becomes very efficient to repackage what I know in a range of formats and communicate it.  All in all, a very useful tool.

This post is part of my daily dispatches experiment, inspired by Austin Kleon.  This is Daily Dispatch Number 4.

 

 

 

 

 

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Michelle Works Out Loud – Daily Dispatches Experiment

Yesterday Jane Bozarth generously delivered a webinar on ‘showing your work’ for the Learning and Development practitioners that I have connected into Working Out Loud Circles.  I always appreciate Jane’s practical approach to ways of making your work visible, and the way she talks about the benefits of this to individuals and organisations.  I’m feeling inspired to ramp up my working out loud practices as a result of this session delivered “at the speed of Jane” (I only gave her 30 minutes to cover the topic – the session ended up being 40 minutes).

When thinking about how what I could do I turned to another of my favourite authors on this topic, Austin Kleon.  Both Jane and Austin have published books called ‘Show Your Work’ – although both differ in format and approach.  (BTW – I love them both and draw inspiration from each of them.)  Chapter 3 of Austin’s book is titled ‘Share Something Small Every Day.’  He advocates the practice of sending out a ‘daily dispatch.’  He describes this as finding one little part of your work process that you can share at the end of every day:

If you’re in the very early stages, share your influences and what’s inspiring you.  If you’re in the middle of executing a project, write about your methods or share works in progress.  If you’ve just completed a project, show the final product, share scraps from the cutting-room floor, or write about what you learned.  If you have lots of projects out into the world, you can report on how they’re doing – you can tell stories about how people are interacting with your work.”

 

I’m going to try an experiment for the next 5 weeks (to the end of Ausut 2017) to do a daily dispatch on the ‘Working Out Loud’ page on my website, and to share a link to this via Twitter.  Wish me luck!

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Hosting a Post-Conference Blab – What I Learned

blab logoBlab is a live video streaming tool with chat box / Instant Messaging.  I hosted my first blab on 15 March 2016 – here’s link to the recording.  I was inspired to do this by an article in February’s ‘Training and Development,’ magazine, published by the Australian Institute of Training and Development (AITD).  I read the article en-route to Enterprise Collaboration TechFest in Melbourne (29 Feb – 1 Mar).  The author, Helen Blunden, provided suggestions for How to Work Out Loud at a Conference.  Although hosting a blab wasn’t one of her suggestions I’d been looking for a good reason to do this, and could see that it would provide an opportunity to continue the conversation started at TechFest.  I scheduled the blab almost on a whim when I arrived at the conference, and then had to figure out how to make it work.

I hosted a 30 minute to get confident with the tool.  A few friends who had hosted blabs before joined this session.  This was a good move. The tool is easy to use and an Internet search will yield plenty of ‘how-to’ advice.  The hands-on practice allowed me to focus on content rather than mechanics at the real event.

What I learned and some tips

Using the Blab tool

Blab is an easy tool to use.  Search for ‘how-to‘ guides online and run a practice session before your first real event.

I am a Mac user.  I wasn’t able to run blab in my Safari browser (perhaps it can be done, but I couldn’t figure it out).  I used Chrome instead and it worked well.

You can add a custom image to your scheduled blab to help promote it.  I didn’t know this at first and hated seeing my profile photo every time I Tweeted about the blab.  Once I added a custom image I was more confident to promote the blab.  I also felt that the image reflected the topic and could attract people to the blab.

Remember to record your blab.  One of the attendees reminded me 20 minutes after the start of the session.  The next morning I went to a breakfast event where someone told me they had been listening to the recording that morning.  (That blew me away!)  I have since reviewed the recording both to recap content and to reflect on what I would do differently next time.

blab1

 

Hosting a Blab as a post-conference activity

Before you schedule your blab ask the Conference organisers if they would be willing to promote it, and check conference hashtag.

Schedule your blab before the Conference starts so that you can promote it during the Conference.

Include the conference hashtag in the blab title.

Consider multiple time zones when you schedule your blab.

Allow 3-7 days between the conference and your blab so conference attendees can travel home and word of your blab has time to spread .

Promote the blab via social media and word of mouth during and after the conference.  Use the conference hashtag and hashtags relevant to themes and topics discussed at the conference.

Use a mix of general social media posts to promote your blab and targeted posts where you @mention people to invite them.  Target conference speakers and organisers, people active in the conference backchannel, and thought leaders in relevant fields.  Even if they don’t attend they may promote the blab.

Invite speakers to join the blab.  Sharon O’Dea joined mine and it made a lot of difference to have her take part in the conversation.

Within a couple of days on the Conference publish a blog post summarising Conference themes and your takeaways.  Curate links to content published by others about the Conference.  Promote the blab on your post.

Write generic reusable questions to use in your post-conference blab. (Tip – you could answer these in your post-conference blog) Examples of questions:

  • ‘What do you think the key themes of the conference were?’
  • ‘What is the most valuable idea or tip you picked up at the conference?’
  • ‘What’s one thing you will do (or do differently) as a result of attending this conference?’

Write conference-specific questions to generate discussion in your blab.  Refer to your notes about panels, questions from the audience, or questions you had written during the conference for ideas.

blab2

 

Your Ideas?

What other tips or ideas do you have for hosting a post-conference blog?  Please post your thoughts in the comments box.

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