Archive for category Show Your Work

How to create (at least) an extra week per month for Professional Development

Yesterday I tweeted photos of my ‘September 2015 Professional Development Outcomes’ and ‘October 2015 Professional Development Goals’.

PD Goals Oct2015My reply to Fiona Barr’s comment below made me realise that over the past few months I’ve actually created 40+ hours per month for Professional Development, in addition to integrating learning into my work activities.  In effect, I’ve created an extra week per month to invest in my own Development.

PD CommentPD Tweet reply

Doing a little bit, consistently, each day, accumulates quickly into a lot of development and the creation of new possibilities – particularly when I do things that connect me to others and put me in a situation of co-learning.  So, in this post I describe how have done this.  For context, I work full time, commute by public transport around 2 hours per day (including walking either end of the trip), have a 10 year old child whom I solo parent during the week without extra child-care, and a dog that I walk at least 2 x 30 minute walks per day.  I share this detail just in case anyone thinks that they have commitments in their life that would preclude them for investing more time in their development.  Note – this is not a prescription, just an example of what works for me.  The underlying principles could be adapted by anyone to suit their life situation and preferences.

1) I manage my energy.  Most nights I get 7-7.5 hours sleep.  I’m a lark and rarely work in the evening (when I do, I definitely feel the drain on my energy and productivity for the next two days).  I walk with my dog 2 x 30 minute sessions per day.  I take short breaks from my desk during my working day.  I eat reasonably well.  I find a strong sense of purpose in my work.  I recommend the book “The Power of Full Engagement” by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz, which is appropriately sub-titled “Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal.”

2) I have a routine and invest in myself when I am freshest.  After my morning walk I sit in my home office and invest an hour in professional development.  This works for me because my mind is clearest and my energy best first thing in the morning.  I generally do this on weekends too – at least one day every weekend.  This routine works with my circadian rhythms and makes the most of my periods of highest mental arousal and creativity.  I recommend the book “Manage Your Day-to-Day,” a series of short articles on the theme “Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus & Sharpen Your Creative Mind.”

3) I have a theme (or small number of themes).  While I have many interests, I have a small number of themes to orient my professional development activities and minimise the time I spend down rabbit holes (it’s very easy to meander on the internet and social platforms).  Currently my key themes are Social Learning, Communities of Practice, Personal Knowledge Mastery and Modern Workplace Learning.  It’s probably at least one theme too many, although the degree to which I focus on any one shifts from time to time.

4) I set goals and track my activities.  Three months ago I was feeling overwhelmed. I had over-committed to delivering presentations (conferences, webinars) on top of work projects.  I felt like I had lost traction and was spinning my wheels.  I decided to make a list of what I needed to achieve in August, plan each week’s activities, and track what I had actually done.  I downloaded a calendar grid, added space to write out goals and outcomes, and took note of what I did each day.  This was a high leverage thing to do, and a really ‘easy win.’  Tracking my activities made me aware of how much I was actually doing and helped me to focus on doing the things that would help me most to achieve my goals.  It also helped me to be more careful about what I took on.  Although it may look like my October list is ambitious, most of this is discretionary and I am not letting anyone down if I don’t get it all done this month.
PD September 20155) I make the most of ‘incidental’ time.  I have around 40 minutes per day sitting on a train or bus 3-4 days per week.  During this time I am online – reading blogs (often via Feedly) or online course content, viewing Twitter feeds (I use lists to focus on key themes) or reviewing Twitter chats relevant to my themes, and engaging in conversation online.  I spend 7 hours per week walking my dog.  I often listen to podcasts or YouTube videos during my walks.  Sometimes I dictate a short reflection.  Other times I simply let my mind wander and use it for renewal.  All of these are good uses of this time.  Here’s a podcast directory in case you want to explore podcasts.

6) I am part of a network.  I am not alone.  I have the force multiplier of a global network of people with similar interests who share good content, engage in conversation, and sometimes co-create with me.  I use my network to filter content for me, to spark ideas and help me to gain insight, and I endeavour to contribute by showing my work, being curious and engaging with others.  I feel that I have barely scraped the surface of what is possible through networks, yet am in awe of their power and potential to accelerate my professional development.

Do you have any other tips for how to create more time for Professional Development or make the most of your PD activities?  Please share by commenting on this post.

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70:20:10 Practitioner Certification – My Pathway

The 702010 Forum recently launched a 70:20:10 Practitioner Certification program (watch a video overview).  I participated in the pilot of this program last year and see tremendous value in the way it supports me to improve the application of the 702010 framework in my organisation, while also recognising my development as I do my work.  There is real integrity in the 702010 approach that is built into the certification.

I’ve decided to post my certification pathway and progress reviews on my blog rather than just on the 702010 Forum so that I can share it more widely.  In this post I share how I have scoped my work requirements and certification pathway.  Participants are asked to apply a performance analysis approach to the scoping step, which is then used to structure this initial post.

Overview of Situation

Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA) produces and distributes a range of beverages and some food items including carbonated soft drinks, fruit juices, water, dairy drinks, alcoholic beverages, fruit, coffee and tea.  In early 2012 CCA established the Supply Chain Technical Academy.  After a number of years of capital investment, a need was identified to ensure that we could continue to develop the capability of our people to use these platforms and systems.  The Academy developed competency-based blended learning programs.  These programs include theory (10), learning from others (20), and learning from experience (70).  The three elements were included in structured programs, culminating in skill assessment on-the-job.

By early 2014 the Academy had largely delivered on the initial mandate of developing training programs to support the major capital investment program, which had come to an end.  CCA’s market conditions had become tougher and profitability was reducing.  Supply Chain’s business strategy had been updated, shifting focus to productivity in order to realise the benefits of the capital investment program.  It was time to refresh our Capability strategy.

I had joined the 702010 Forum in September 2013 and became aware of how many different ways there are to support social and experiential learning.  It struck me that CCA had narrowly interpreted the 702010 framework, and were missing many valuable, lower cost opportunities to support learning and improve our business results.

While I commenced individual 702010 certification as part of the Forum’s pilot in September 2014, I have used the Forum to support development and execution of the refreshed strategy described in this journal post.

Who is Involved?

Sponsor – My manager, the Head of People and Productivity – Supply Chain, is sponsoring my certification.

Stakeholders:

A Supply Chain Technical Capability Governance Board was established in mid 2012.  The Board consists of a range of senior National and State managers.  It sets and oversees Capability strategy.  The Board helps me to align capability activities to business strategy and priorities.

National and State managers of functions such as manufacturing, maintenance and logistics – The Capability strategy must help them to improve their team’s business results.  I work with them to develop specific learning programs that suit their team’s characteristics and working environment.

Capability Community – This group are both stakeholders in my certification and support in that they are co-contributors to the work that is in certification scope.

Academy team – five people in addition to myself, who develop and coordinate national learning programs.

Additional ‘Capability Consultants’ – people who take a lead role on development of specific Capability, but are not a permanent part of the Academy team.

State Capability Managers – one per Australian State (geographically structured role).  These roles report to State Supply Chain Managers.  They plan and execute technical and compliance training locally using a mixture of Academy and other programs.  They are key local change and communication agents for the Academy.

Indirect Support – I shall work with IT and HR on specific initiatives.  I shall also use my external Personal Learning Network for support. I may also engage external specialists to assist with specific initiatives.

Current Performance

The business context in early 2014 was introduced at start of this post.  Key business performance factors were:

– Reducing business profitability due to changing market conditions, with a negative impact on share price.

– Business cost reductions, reducing workforce size.

– Completion of a multi-year program of investment in a range of Supply Chain platforms and computer systems.

Capability performance was reflected in a SWOT analysis undertaken in March 2014.  I conducted individual discussions with the Governance Board members and Capability Managers gathered input from functional managers in their States.  The SWOT was finalised at a 2 day Capability Community strategy workshop.

In summary, we had embedded a new consistent, clear model of competency-based Capability development aligned with business priorities, and the Community had earned credibility in the business.  This has been a significant shift from the previous model where each State independently developed technical capability.  Managers across Supply Chain told us that we had focussed on the right capabilities, and they felt that the programs met their needs.  However, activity metrics showed that utilisation of formal programs was low.  Engagement of local teams with Capability needed to improve in most States.  We were also concerned that knowledge sharing across States was low.

Performance Outcomes to be achieved:

The Supply Chain business strategy was updated in late 2013 and emphasises productivity. Specific 3-year stretch targets have been set in the following business KPIs:

– Overall equipment effectiveness (OEE)

– Unplanned equipment downtime

– Reducing finished goods inventory

– Cost of finished goods

To support these business outcomes, the Capability strategy must:

– rapidly develop emerging technical skills required in the business.  For example, improve maintenance planning skills in order to reduce unplanned equipment downtime.

– use more responsive learning strategies.  While the competency-based programs provide a foundation by sustaining critical core technical skills and knowledge, they do not enable continuous learning while working.   They also require a lot of resource and time to develop.

Implications of Doing Nothing

Our Capability Strategy clearly needed to be refreshed to maintain alignment with the business strategy.  To continue developing capability-based learning programs would mean that we invest a lot of resource in increasingly lower priority business capabilities.  We simply could not keep up with business needs and risked becoming irrelevant.

Key Activities or Solutions

The refreshed Capability Strategy contains five elements as per the diagram below.

CCA Capability Strategy

The strategy, endorsed by the Governance Board, states that we will focus on:

1.     Continuing to develop and drive utilisation of evidence based programs for key capabilities

2.     Driving leader engagement with, and accountability for, Capability Development

3.     Building a continuous learning culture

4.     Facilitating effective Communities of Practice for key capabilities

5.     Implementing modern technology enabled approaches for learning

6.     Implementing strong governance practices

We have a three year road map of key initiatives for each element by year.

I shall focus on knowledge sharing as part of building a continuous learning culture for my 702010 Certification.  This includes Communities of Practice and other forms of embedding and extracting learning through knowledge sharing.  However, I shall also use the 702010 Forum resources and community to support other activities included in the strategy.

Action Plan

Following development of the strategy my next steps in regard to building knowledge sharing were to:

– Improve SharePoint infrastructure so that it could be used effectively for knowledge sharing.

– Engage and enable the Capability Community to support knowledge sharing by other groups in the business.

–  Develop knowledge sharing across CCA’s (1) Maintenance and Engineering teams, and (2) Systems Super Users and Key Users.

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Working Out Loud Circles – Who Will Join Us?

On 12 August I joined an OzLearn Twitter chat about Working Out Loud (WOL).  I will update this post with a link to the Storify archive of this chat when it is published.  We were fortunate to be joined by Simon Terry who blogs about WOL (amongst other topics).

Bryce Williams initially defined the concept of Working Out Loud as:

Narrating Your Work + Observable Work.

John Stepper does a good job describing what these two elements mean in “Working Out Loud: Your Personal Content Strategy.”  Jane Bozarth calls the practice Showing Your Work.

WOL

Yet, what practices actually constitute Working Out Loud can be a bit elusive.  There was a sense during the OzLearn chat that we were all Working Out Loud already, although which of our practices fell into this category and which didn’t was muddy.  One thing there was consensus on is that we each derive benefit from our WOL practices, and that the organisations we work in / with can benefit from widespread adoption of WOL.

It was Simon Terry who brought the groups attention to John Stepper’s idea of Working Out Loud Circles, which he describes as great peer support group.  Stepper describes how to implement WOL Circles, and suggests that they could be systematically spread to reap organisational benefits.  The idea quickly captured the interest of a number of chat participants and we’ve decided to set up some WOL Circles in Australia.

Each WOL circle consists of 4-5 people who meet for one hour per week over a twelve week period following a structured program.  Meetings can be held online or face-to-face. We will use the tool kit contained in John’s soon to be published book.  This is not intended to be a program that the OzLearn community ‘manages or ‘controls’ – rather an initiative to provide participants with an opportunity to improve their WOL practices.  It will also provide experience with an approach that participants could then use to implement WOL in their organisations.

Participation is open to any interested person who is able to join meetings held in Australian time zones.  We will kick off the first circles in late August / early September – as soon as we have enough people and an advance copy of John’s book.  If you are interested in joining a circle please leave your name and some way of contacting you (e.g. Twitter, email) in a comment below – or get in touch with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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Encouraging SMEs to Show Their Work

I drafted this blog post on an aircraft flight.  I was on my way to spend a half day with a small group of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to run a kickoff session on development of a learning program for their job role.  The delivery methodology is structured on the job training.  Each session in the program is documented in a Guided Lesson which is, in effect, a session plan that an experienced person can follow when training someone how to do job role tasks.  It emphasis the learning goal and topics that must be covered in the session (generous use of action verbs), rather than the detailed content of ‘how’ to do things.  The ‘how’ is documented in performance support materials like work instructions and screencast system simulations.

The structure of a Guided Lesson is shown below and you can view a Sample Guided Lesson.

Guided Lesson Structure

A Guided Lesson brings greater consistency to ‘buddy training’ and helps keep learning in the workplace context where tasks are actually performed.  As it is delivered on the job the learner can immediately practice the skills covered in the lesson. These are some of the obvious benefits of the approach.

ShowYourWorkAs I skim through the agenda and pre-reading of this session I glance down at Jane Bozarth’s book Show Your Work, which is sitting on my lap underneath my notes.  I have an ‘aha’ moment.  The other vitally important source of information about ‘how’ to do things is the tacit knowledge that resides within the SMEs. These are the things that they know about how to perform effectively in the role that are not so easy to document and codify, or difficult to follow when written down – like how to deal with exceptions, how to best communicate with different stakeholders, how to influence others to make decisions.

I think that one of the reasons Guided Lessons have been so effective and well received as an approach to technical training in my organisation is that the format allows experienced people to share not only documented explicit knowledge but also their tacit knowledge.  As they deliver a Lesson and refer to performance support material they can also discuss their experience and insights into how they work.

This is something that our SMEs will readily understand, and I think gives me a great way to start conversations with SMEs about showing their work more publicly to larger groups of people.  If they can see it as an extension of what they are already doing when training a novice then one aspects of the purpose and benefits of showing their work may be easier for them to grasp, and the approach may feel more natural.  We can then go on to discuss other benefits.  This also feels like a straightforward way for me to introduce the idea of showing your work to others in my workplace.

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