Archive for category Working Out Loud

#WOLWeek Day 3 – Make A Contribution

International Working Out Loud Week (#WOLWeek) is 7-13 November 2016. I’m using it as an opportunity to promote Working Out Loud (WOL) and give my own practices a boost by following the 7 days worth of actions to get you started working out loud.

7-days-ofworking-out-loud

Image source: WOLWeek.wordpress.com

My Purpose

On #WOLWeek Day 1 I blogged about my current WOL Circle goal:

“to clearly explain the impact of knowledge and expertise on Australian organisations.”

Todays Contribution

Today’s #WOLWeek challenge is to “take the time to make a contribution to another person who is connected to your purpose.”  The day is drawing to a close.  While I have made contributions to others today, I have not made one specifically to someone connected to my purpose.  So today’s post is a reflection on my contributions during the eight weeks of my current WOL Circle as I worked towards this goal.

My Contributions During Current WOL Circle

My purpose is fairly specific in it’s Australian focus, and I did not start with well-developed relationships with relevant people. Most people have an online presence of some kind so I started searching for people I had met at Knowledge Management Australia conference to see if I could find an online social media account, a blog, or other online content they’d published.

When I found people on LinkedIn I sent them a personalised invitation reminding them of our prior contact, and identifying our area of common interest.  If I found them on Twitter I followed them and sent a short tweet with a similar message.  Following someone on social media and making a short introduction gives the simple, unobtrusive gift of acknowledgement.  Where I was able to find content they had published online I looked at it and, if I found it valuable, I liked it, commented on it, or shared it online with a brief statement about the content.  The intent of these small contributions is to move the relationship forward just a little, to make them aware of me, and extend a light invitation to engage without imposing an obligation.

One person did start a dialogue with me via email, and I was able to make further contributions by commenting on their work and asking questions about it.  I asked if they were aware of Australian case studies or research relevant to my goal.  They recommended a global study that contained some Australian data, and suggested I join the AusKm forum and post my question there.  I’m going to leave this thread of the story there for now as it leads into #WOLWeek Day 5: Share A Need.

On reflection, during my current WOL Circle I’ve not moved beyond simple contributions.  This has impeded my progress toward my goal.  I’ve been very busy recently with significant changes, including resigning from a job to commence working independently, moving house, and time off work during school holidays.  I’ve struggled to maintain a habit of keeping an eye on what relevant people are sharing online, reading longer content that they have published or referred to me, and identifying contributions I could be making.  Nonetheless, I have made progress – which I shall summarise in tomorrow’s WOLWeek post.

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#WOLWeek Day 2 -Make a Connection

International Working Out Loud Week (#WOLWeek) is 7-13 November 2016. I’m using it as an opportunity to promote Working Out Loud (WOL) and give my own practices a boost by following the 7 days worth of actions to get you started working out loud.

7-days-ofworking-out-loud

Image source: WOLWeek.wordpress.com

My Purpose

On #WOLWeek Day 1 I blogged about my current WOL Circle goal:

“to clearly explain the impact of knowledge and expertise on Australian organisations.”

I shared links this to my Day 1 post on Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.  I also sent targeted tweets to people in my network that I knew have an interest in knowledge management.  One of these people, Ben McMann, recommended two Australians that I could connect with:

Ben McMann Tweet.png

Today’s New Connections

Today I looked at the Twitter accounts of the people he recommended, skimmed through their recent tweets, and visited their blog sites.  This gave me a sense of their interests and what we have in common.  I asked myself whether I could see myself engaging in a conversation with them where I have the potential to learn something and/or to make a contribution to them.  Based on this initial screening I followed them.

While following someone on social media is a good first step, and an easy thing to do, it’s a superficial form of connection.  So I took one additional small step – I sent them each an introductory tweet.

WOLWeek Day 2 b.png

tweet-wolweek-day-2

Each tweet included a brief message about something specific I had noticed on their Twitter profile or blog.  These messages are an invitation to engage with me – to build our relationship a little through conversation.  (For more on the idea of depth of connections and gradually building intimacy with people in your network you can look at the ‘Intimacy Levels’ exercise in the Week 2 Working Out Loud Circle Guide.)

Will these two new people I have connected with help me to achieve the goal I shared yesterday?  Will I be able to make a valuable contribution of some sort to them?  I don’t know yet.  I never do when I first add someone to my network.  It’s the first step in a process of discovery which may go nowhere, or may result in new opportunities I had never imagined – either with these people, or others that they lead me to.  That’s the mystery and joy of engaging in a network.

Connections for my Current WOL Circle

Yesterday I mentioned that I am currently in Week 8 of a 12-week Working Out Loud Circle.  In Week 1 after you share your goal you start building a relationship list, which is simply a list of people or organisations related to your goal.  You aim to identify ten people or organisations – either those you already know, or new ones.

I started my list with people and organisations I already knew, many from the Knowledge Management Australia conference which I attended in September 2016.  These were either people I had not known very long or were aware of but had not connected with.  Even where I did know them, my level of intimacy with them was low.  My challenge then was to introduce myself to these people in a meaningful way.  This required that I exercise empathy – to do a little research about them, and think about what their interests may be, and how it could be of value to them to be connected with me.  Over several weeks I reached out lightly to the people on my list.  In some instances they did not reply.  In others they did, but the interaction stalled.  In three cases the ongoing dialogue around my goal has been rich and led me either directly or through others in their network to resources that are directly relevant to my goal.

I hope that I have been able to contribute to these people along the way – which will be the topic of my Day 3 #WOLWeek post tomorrow: Make A Contribution.

Further resources:

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#WOLWeek Day 1 – Share a Purpose

International Working Out Loud Week (#WOLWeek) is 7-13 November 2016. I’m using it as an opportunity to promote Working Out Loud (WOL) and give my own practices a boost by following the 7 days worth of actions to get you started working out loud.

7-days-ofworking-out-loud

Image source: WOLWeek.wordpress.com

Day 1 – Share a Purpose

I am currently in a Working Out Loud Circle.  A Circle is run over 12 weeks.  In week 1 each person in a Circle sets an individual goal that they will work towards.  The goal orients your WOL activities over the 12-week period.  It doesn’t need to be perfect, and there is scope to modify or change over time.  It also doesn’t need to be a SMART goal.  The main criteria are that it is something you care about, and you can make progress towards in 12 weeks.

My goal is:

“to clearly explain the impact of knowledge and expertise on Australian organisations.”

Over the past three years I have worked inside an Australian organisation on improving knowledge sharing.  The opportunity to do this arose as a series of business performance challenges and risks were raised with me in my capacity as a Learning and Development Manager.

For example, a business continuity risk was identified in key operational systems due to the departure of key subject matter experts from the organisation, movement of people internally through job roles, and imminent retirement of some long-tenured employees.  This had an impact on current performance and was one factor contributing to under-utilisation of system functionality, hence missed opportunities to use the systems to help run the business as effectively and efficiently as possible.

risk

Image source:  theinstitute.ieee.org

Why I Care About This

Another example was in the maitnenance and engineering function.  The role of engineers had changed over the previous 10-20 years, reducing the natural opportunity for engineers to develop deep understanding of equipment and line design in manufacutring as they worked.  Consequently, this knowledge was concentrated in a small number of long-tenured engineers.  There was a need to spread this knowledge more broadly to sustain and improve trouble-shooting and capability to develop and impelemnt equipment and line modifications in conjunction with third parties.  There was also a need to improve maintenance management and practices across Australian sites in order to improve production line efficiency.  Knowledge sharing was identified as one strategy to achieve these goals.

So, my experience with a single organisation provides me with the ability to explain the impact of knowledge in this organisation.  I am now working independently and would like to do more work to help Australian organisations improve performance through better knowledge sharing.  To help create opportunities to do this I would like to be able to clearly explain how knowledge impacts organisations using specific Australian examples / case studies and research / data.

How I’m Sharing my Purpose

I’m in week 8 of my Circle.  While I have asked some individuals and one Australian knowledge management community (Australian Society for Knowledge Management forum) for help to find relevant Australian case studies and data, I have not actually shared my overall goal outside of my WOL Circle.  So, today I’m sharing it on my blog which I will post on Twitter and LinkedIn.  I have a Knowledge Management list on my Twitter account, and will share this post with selected individuals on this list.

Further resources:

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My Plan for Working Out Loud Week (#WOLWeek) 7-13 Nov 2016

Working out loud is an approach to building relationships that can help you in some way. It’s a practice that combines conventional wisdom about relationships with modern ways to reach and engage people. When you work out loud, you feel good and empowered at the same time.

 – John Stepper, The 5 Elements of Working Out Loud (revisited)

International Working Out Loud Week 7-13 November 2016 offers an opportunity to explore and/or strengthen your Working Out Loud (WOL) practices.  I was looking for a way to use WOL Week to both promote this powerful approach and give my own practices a boost.  I needed to look no further than the official website where I found 7 Days worth of actions to get you started Working Out Loud. 

7-days-ofworking-out-loud

Image source: WOLWeek.wordpress.com

I’m currently participating in a Working Out Loud Circle.  This is my fourth.  I find the accountability created by being in a circle valuable in helping me work purposefully towards a goal, especially where I need new knowledge and to build my network to achieve the goal.  One aspiration I’ve never met is to make a regular blog posts for the 12-week period of a Circle.  That’s about to change!

My Plan

During WOL Week I will do the following every day:

1)  Take the action suggested for that day; and

2)  Publish a short blog post about what I have done during my current WOL Circle in regard to that action, and the impact of taking that action.

What will you do in WOL Week?

I’d love to know your plans – please post a comment or tweet me.

Further resources:

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Trying out Snapchat for professional development

It’s Day 13 of the Learning Rebels 30 Day Brainstorm Challenge.  The Challenge is about looking for inspiration and ideas every day and sharing it with others in any way you choose.  My Challenge post today is about my early experiences trying out Snapchat, a photo and video messaging app, as a professional development tool.

Sources of inspiration

snapchat tutorI started using Snapchat this week.  I was inspired to do this by Helen Blunden who has been exploring it in her usual curious and enthusiastic manner.  I’d seen Helen tweeting about how she was using it to Work Out Loud and connect with others.  My second source of inspiration was my 11 year old daughter, who I turned to for help.  (She has since been a source of both ongoing assistance, encouragement and ridicule as I grapple with this app.)

Snapchat profiles

After downloading the app to my iPhone I set up my account and created my profile.  Profiles are very basic as shown below.  The dots are a Snapchat branded QR code (aka ‘Snapcode‘) which other users of Snapchat can scan to automatically follow a person (called ‘adding a friend’ on Snapchat).  Every account also has a url that others can use to follow e.g. https://www.snapchat.com/add/michelleockers6.  The number ’74’ after my Snapchat user name is the number of points I have earned, although I remain fairly clueless as to how this works even after reading an explanation of how points are calculated.  (I don’t think it’s important to me anyway.)

Snapchat profile.jpg

Functionality – getting my head around the basics

Reader beware – I’m about to tell you what I have been doing on Snapchat.  I am at the ‘consciously incompetent’ stage in this learning curve so I apologise in advance if any of what I post here is misleading.  I’ll update this post if I discover any errors at a later date.  

This post from Pocket-Lint introduces Snapchat functionality and endeavours to answer the question ‘what’s the point of Snapchat?’

The basic idea is you create stories using a mix of photos and short (maximum 10 second) videos which you shoot in the Snapchat app – these are called ‘snaps’.  You can overlay a small amount of text, emojis and graphics from a library, draw or add Snapchat filters.   You can broadcast your content either to ‘the world’ (i.e. everyone on Snapchat) or just Snapchatters who follow you.  It’s visible to you and others for 24 hours then ‘poof’ no-one can see it anymore.  You can also send ‘snaps’ directly to friends who will see them for just 10 seconds after opening.

People can comment on an image or video but their comments are just sent to you as a direct ‘chat’, not visible to others.  There is no like or favourite functionality.  You can see who has viewed your snaps.  You can’t add hyperlinks (you can type in a url, but it will be text, not a hyperlink).  There’s no ‘feed’ where you can scroll through all of the ‘posts’ of everyone you follow.  It doesn’t support multiple people having a collective conversation about your content.

It’s deliberately intended to be ephemeral, to be about ‘now’, to share stores from your life with people who are interested.  It demands more constant attention than other social media platforms if you want to stay abreast of what people in your network are doing and sharing.

You have a single story, which will continuously update as you add snaps.  You cannot have multiple stories running at one time unless you have multiple accounts – in which case I think you would need to sign out and in of accounts to switch between them.  You can delete individual images or videos from your story.  You can see who has viewed or taken a screen shot of every snap in your story.

From your own content you can download either an individual image or video to your camera roll, or your whole story (i.e. all content from last 24 hours).  Downloads save as  video on your camera roll.  Although I haven’t tried this yet I expect that I could import this to iMovie to edit.  Display is portrait only.

You can also save your own individual images, videos or a story on Snapchat using the ‘Memories’ functionality.  I haven’t played around with this yet, but it sounds promising.  The in-app help says that you can reuse the content saved in Memories – including adding content to your current story or sending directly to friends, editing stories, and creating new stories. It also allows you to upload images and screenshots from your camera roll and use them in your stories.  Again, display is portrait only so anything shot in landscape will appear on it’s side.

Uncomfortable and Strange

Snapchat what to doI’m used to a lot of open interaction on social media and blogs as I work out loud and learn from people in my network.  I’m used to being able to view content long after it was originally published, to bookmark content for re-use.  This Snapchat space feels a bit strange.  It’s deliberately designed to be impermanent – that’s the element which feels the most unusual to me.   Yet that appears to be the key to it’s popularity. Further, as an aid to working out loud, the impermanence could reduce the inhibition to share.

Even once I master the functionality of the app (which is fairly simple but takes a little to get used to navigation – something my daughter is finding particularly hilarious) I think it will continue to feel a bit uncomfortable for a while as I figure out what I could use it for.  That’s okay – this feeling is part of the process of trying something new.

What I’ve tried & what I’m learning

Below are a couple of examples using Snapchat stories that I uploaded from my camera roll to YouTube.

A daily journal – keeping a record of what I do in a day:

Working out loud about a project (before I knew I could edit out individual images – so there is some irrelevant content in this one):

I’ve tried mixing content from my work and personal life into my stories.  I’m being quite selective with what I share from my personal life.  There is a lot that I cannot share in images and videos from my working life because it contains organisation specific content that it may not be appropriate to share publicly.  There have also been some important things that happened this week that I could not include in the journal style video (first example above) due to individual confidentiality.  So, using Snapchat as a daily journal would result in an incomplete record due to the constraint of all content is public.  This is an issue common to many other social media tools.

The short duration of the videos is forcing me to be succinct.  I have 10 seconds to get a point or key message across Given I am experimenting with vlogging as part of the 30 Day Brainstorm Challenge this is helping me to become more concise in my vlogs.

I have only viewed stories of three other people.  From my daughter I am learning about making things look a bit funkier and modern.  She is not very upbeat about my potential, telling me my stories are ‘boring’.  Helen Blunden and DrCameronJones both work out loud on Snapchat and tell their stories in an interesting way.  I am using them as role models e.g. stringing together a series of short videos to explain an idea more fully, and drawing or jotting thoughts on paper and using them as an aid to explain key posts in a video.

Given how quick it is to capture my working process in Snapchat (as per the second example above) I found it an easy way to work out loud as I worked.  Being able to download content for re-use in new stories and inclusion in more permanent working out loud video posts is an essential feature for me.  It means that I can separate out content about different projects or activities after downloading and remix in more coherent ways.  The short video format feels very fresh to me.

I have not yet tried to use Snapchat as a networking tool – to find new people and connect with them.  Helen has told me she is finding it very useful for connecting with others, particularly those outside of her own field.  I’m curious about this.

Part of my challenge may be that I’m trying to use Snapchat for things I already do using other platforms, that I’m treating it like other platforms.  The impermanence is the distinguishing characteristic of this platform – I feel like I can be more casual here, and share without too much effort or polishing.

What I’ll do next

I’m going to:

  1. Keep narrating my Community of Practice toolkit development on Snapchat with the intent of remixing and reusing the content.  It will be an experiment in Working Out Loud using Snapchat.
  2. Figure out how to use the ‘Memories’ functionality to reuse and edit content.
  3. Follow more people and watch how they use Snapchat.  Observe closely and learn (i.e. I’ll be ‘lurking).  Look for the use cases.
  4. Try using it to connect with people – to leave comments on their content and chat with them (one on one of course).

To help with 3 and 4 on this list I’ve followed everyone that Helen has identified as people who show their work on Snapchat.

It still feels strange, and remain willing to walk away from Snapchat – but I’m not done exploring yet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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AITD Excellence Awards 2015 – Thank You to my Scenius

On Friday 27 November 2015 I attended the annual Australian Institute of Training and Development Excellence Awards. These awards recognise achievement in training, learning and organisational development.

My team in Supply Chain at Coca-Cola Amatil was a finalist in the new award category of ‘Best Use of Social/Collaborative Learning. I was also a finalist in the ‘Dr Alastair Rylatt Award for Learning and Development Professional of the Year.’ I had prepared acceptance speeches as I wanted to take the opportunity to acknowledge some of the people and organisations who had contributed to both of these achievements. I also wanted to share an idea about professional development for Learning and Development (L&D) practitioners. Unfortunately I did not get to use either of these speeches. So I’ve decided to use my blog to express my appreciation and share this idea.

Best Use of Social/Collaborative Learning

Coca-Cola Amatil in partnership with Activate Learning Solutions were Highly Commended in the inaugural award in this category for our work on the Supply Chain Systems Certificaton Program. (I shall blog soon about this program.)

AITD Award

I lead the Supply Chain Technical Academy at Coca-Cola Amatil.  The Academy has had the privilege of working with others across Supply Chain to develop and implement a more open, collaborative approach to learning which seeks to integrate learning with work.

Thank you to the Supply Chain leaders who have been willing to adopt a modern approach to learning in our business, especially to Jeff Maguire, Head of People & Productivity, and David Grant, the Supply Chain Director.  Thank you for supporting innovation in learning.

Thank you also to the AITD for introducing this award category.  It symbolises the progressive work you’ve undertaken in the past 12-18 months to remain relevant as a professional association and reflect the changing nature of L&D.  I appreciate the validation that CCA Supply Chain is on the right track with our social and collaborative learning initiatives.

It takes a lot of collaboration to create and sustain such initiatives.  Thank you to Justine Jardine and Karlo Briski from our Technical Academy team – both have been creative, bold and resilient in developing and facilitating the program.   Thank you also to the Community of Practice members, who were represented at the awards by Matt Hay, David Barker and Sreeni Barmalli. They have been active program participants and, as part of their daily operational roles, have taken a lead in Communities of Practice and supporting others to engage in the certification program.

I’d also like to acknowledge the fabulous support of Helen Blunden from Activate Learning Solutions.  Her guidance was critical in launching our communities of practice, and developing the networking and social learning skills of participants with the Work, Connect and Learn program.  She is a worthy co-recipient of this award.

The Dr Alastair Rylatt Award for Learning and Development Professional of the Year

This award is presented to an individual who has made a significant contribution to learning and development in the past 18 months. Congratulations to Dr Denise Meyerson, Director of Management Consultancy International, for being the 2015 award recipient.

Austin Kleon has written a wonderful little book called ‘Show Your Work.’  The first chapter is titled ‘You Don’t Have To Be Genius’ and it opens with the words ‘Find A Scenius.’  It’s a term that Kleon has picked up from Brian Eno who defines it as follows: “Scenius stands for the intelligence and the intuition of a whole cultural scene. It is the communal form of the concept of the genius.”

scenius

Image from Austin Kleon

My selection as a finalist is largely due to my use of working out loud to find a Scenius, which is a funkier term for what is commonly called a Personal Learning Network.  If you are not familiar with the term ‘Personal Learning Network’ I suggest you Google it, consider the state of your own network, and how you can build it.  Being part of a network or scenius is a key factor in accelerating your professional development and making a contribution.

To quote from Austin Kleon:

“Being a valuable part of a scenius is not necessarily about how smart or talented you are, but what you have to contribute – the ideas you share, the quality of the connections you make, and the conversations you start.”

Thank you to the people around the world who are part of my scenius.  It is all of you who have made it possible for me to transform my professional development, to learn from and alongside you, to make a contribution and as a result to create new possibilities.  The specific people I am about to mention are representative of those in my scenius who collectively enable me to develop and contribute, but ths is well short of an exhaustive list.  They include thought leaders from across the world such as Jane Hart in the UK, Charles Jennings and Jane Bozarth in the US, Harold Jarche in Canada and Simon Terry in Melbourne.  There are also other L&D practitioners who work out loud, generously talking about their work practices, challenges and ideas about where L&D is headed – people such as Ryan Tracey in Sydney, Sunder Ramachandran in India, and Shannon Tipton in the US.

Thank you to the people and organisations who are connectors, creating opportunity for L&D professionals to engage in conversation, and share experience and practices – such as Third Place founded by Helen Blunden, the Ozlearn community facilitated by Con Sotidis and, of course, the AITD.

Closer to my day-to-day work are my colleagues at Coca-Cola Amatil, represented at the awards night by Justine Jardine and Karlo Briski. It’s a joy to learn and figure out what works alongside you. I extend this sentiment to my ex-colleague and peer-mentor, Lynette Curtis who travelled from Melbourne to join the celebrations.

Finally, to my manager of the past four years, Jeff Maguire, thank you for your unwavering trust and support, and the autonomy and flexibility you have granted me to create and embed the Academy and Capability Community in Supply Chain. Thank you also to seeing the value in sharing stories of how we work outside of our organisational boundaries and granting me the freedom to work out loud.

If you take away one thing from my selection as a finalist for this award, it’s to build your network – create your Scenius in order to unlock your Genius.

Afternote – additional posts on AITD Awards:

Helen Blunden’s Reflections of the 2015 AITD National Excellence Awards

AITD’s Storify collection of tweets from the 2015 Awards Night

 

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Learning at Work Day 2 – My Key Takeaways / Ideas

This post is a continuation of my list of Key Takeaways / Actions form Learning at Work Day 1.

WOL 5 elementsIdea #6 – Seed/introduce Working Out Loud Circles as a self-organising development program within my organisation.  From Mara Tolja, Community Manager and Collaboration Specialist, Deutsche Bank, “Working Out Loud: a grassroots movement to make work better and more effective”.  I’m now in my second Working Out Loud circle, and find it a great way to work purposefully towards a goal while developing relationships with a spirit of generosity and contribution.  In August I spoke about Working Out Loud at a National Association of Women in Operations (NAWO) event my organisation hosted, out of which five circles started.  About 1/3 of the participants are from my organisation, so I guess I’ve started seeding it.  I’m concerned that if I try introducing it as a ‘formal’ program it will get bogged down, or ‘ambushed’ and the self-organising, self-direction element may be lost.  I also don’t want people to be confused about where it fits with the remainder of my role as manager of Coca-Cola Amatil’s Supply Chain Technical Academy.  Perhaps the simplest approach is to keep it grass roots and support others to spread the word.  I’m open to suggestions and different points of view on this so please feel free to comment on this post.

Idea #7 – Take another look at MOOCs.  18-24 months ago MOOCs were on the agenda of most L&D conferences as a standalone topic.  Now they are mentioned as part of the corporate learning tookit in presentations on broader topics and discussed amongst delegates.  It’s been over 12 months since I last searched for MOOCs on topics relevant to Supply Chain, at which point I didn’t find much.  It’s time to take another look, and also to consider how we could promote MOOCs as a broader option in the context of self-directed learning (Day 1 Idea #2).

Idea #8 – Get more targeted with development of L&D capabilities.  From Vivien Dale, Manager, Organisational Development, North Coast TAFE, “Opportunity knocks: improving performance through 70:20:10.”  Vivien spoke about the skillset that needed to be built in her L&D team in order to implement 70:20:10.  I’ve recently asked all members of the Coca-Cola Amatil Supply Chain Capability Community to complete the LPI Capability Assessment.  Over the next two days we have a Community workshop where we will review our strategy, 2015 ‘wins’ and 2016 ‘opportunities’ and capabiliity plan.  We will analyse the LPI capability profile across the group, look at how well aligned our skillset is with what we need to contribute to the performance of our organisation, and create a development plan.  Although we have been developing a modern workplace learning mindset and skillset in recent years this will be a more focussed approach than we have previously taken.

Idea #9 – Adopt an “appreciative inquiry” approach to turn problem statements into positive lines of inquiry.  From Jeremy Scrivens, Work Futurist & Social Business Catalyst, Roundtable “Digital @ Work and social buisness strategy: think outside the box.” Take a problem statement and convert it into a positive inquiry in order to figure out and amplify what is working, and to find innovative ways to create a positive future.  For example, instead of asking “Why are people not active on our knowledge sharing discussion forums?”  ask “Where and how are people actively sharing knowledge?”

Idea #10 – Understand where my organisation is going with HR Analytics.  From Tym Lawrence, SumTotal Roundtable “Leveraging Technology and big data to provide individualised learning journeys”.  There’s been a lot of investment in HR Technology in my organisation this year, and I am aware that HR and our business intelligence team are defining our HR data strategy and introducing new reports through our business intelligence platform.  What insights might be possible using a combination of our HR and business data that will help to not only focus our Capability development efforts on areas where we can make the biggest contribution to organisational performance, and also where we can better identify and meet the performance development needs of individuals?

This links back my Day 1 Idea #1 about using data more in decision-making, so a ‘data’ theme has emerged.  It also got me thinking again about the power of self-directed learning and communities of purpose to enable individuals to create their own learning journeys.  Two different, complementary ways of achieving the same goal.

Idea #11 – Get access to relevant results from our employee engagement survey and see if/how we can use it to inform our learning strategy and capability plan.  From Tina Griffin, Kineo, Roundtable “How do you get buy-in for your learning initiatives?”  Another potentially valuable data set that I’ve never tried to access.  On Day 1 we heard from David Mallon that the Bersin by Deloitte 2015 Global Human Capital Trends identified the #1 global talent issue is engagement, and that organisations need to constantly re-engage their workforce.  I’m curious about what insights might be available about how learning and development approaches and opportunities are viewed by our employees, how this impacts engagement, and what we could to amplify areas of positive engagement.

Idea #12 – Add  simple, powerful questions to learning evaluation.  (1) “What else do you think you need to learn or would like to learn?” Asking this question at the end of, or at key points during, a learning program is a simple, timely way of getting learner input to needs analysis.  It’s a start point to a conversation we can have with people rather than a commitment by the organisation to ‘provide’ the learning, and could be a good opportunity to enable self-directed or manager-led development.  Thank you to fellow delegate Victoria Oettel, Uniting, for this idea.  (2) Ask participants to rate their performance of a target skill on a simple scale at three points in time: start of program, end of program, 3 months after program completion.  Ask managers to provide the same ranking.  We have been using a similar approach, but sometimes it feels like people are getting weary of responding to surveys.  The potential improvement is to make our surveys shorter.  Thanks to Tina Griffin of Kineo for sharing this idea on her Roundtable.

Idea #13 – Make our eLearning even better.  From Clark Quinn, Executive Director, Quinnovation “Building an Agile organisation: optimal execution and continual innovation.”  Clark asserted that eLearning done well remains important to optimal execution in organisations.  I’ll follow his recommendation to examine the Serious eLearning Manifesto and discuss it with my team to identify what we can do better.

Idea #14 – Build specific collaboration skills in my organisation.  I couldn’t resist adding a second idea from Clark Quinn.  He identified collaboration and communities of practice as two key strategies for continual innovation and advocated that L&D has an important role to play in developing both within organisations.  I intend to research collaboration skills, starting with those listed by Clark in red in the image below and work with my team to figure out how well we are currently supporting development of them, and how we can do this more effectively.

Clark Quinn Collab Skills

So, 14 ideas to take back to work and discuss with my colleagues.  Given that six colleagues also attended the conference it will be interesting to hear what resonated with them, throw their ideas into the mix, and sort through them together to figure out which we will apply and how.

For other Learning at Work attendees – what ideas have you gathered to take back to your organisation and try?

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Learning At Work Day 1 – My Key Takeaway Ideas / Actions

With Vanessa North (MC), Sunder Ramachandran and Mara Tolja

With Vanessa North (MC), Sunder Ramachandran and Mara Tolja

I’m at the Learning At Work Conference in Sydney for two days.  I’m looking for ideas that I can put into to action to improve performance in my organisation.  I aim to find at least one idea out of each of the sessions I attend,at Learning At Work – one thing I can apply to improve learning in my organisation.  That I haven’t included an idea from a specific presenter does not mean they did not have interesting content with good ideas – just nothing that immediately struck me to take back to my organisation and apply (so don’t be upset if you are a presenter and I haven’t mentioned you here…..).

Theme – From these first two presentations the theme of being BOLD emerged, which David Mallon characterised as being creative and not being held to past practice.  The things that captured my attention in subsequent presentations were those where people had taken bold action, anchored in data, sound analysis and design.

Idea #1 – Improve how I use data to drive decision making e.g. where to focus L&D team resources to have biggest performance impact.  From David Mallon, Head of Research, Bersin by Deloitte “Leading in the New World of Work”.  David’s presentation drew on Bersins 2015 Global Human Capital trends research.  When people in my business request a learning program or initiative I ask them “How will you know in 12 months time if this initiative has been successful?  Are there any KPIs we can track?”  In many cases it’s difficult to get straightforward answers to this question.  Recently I spoke with our business unit Commercial Manager about tapping into his team’s ongoing analysis of business performance to help identify specific performance gaps / opportunities that our L&D team can partner with stakeholders to address.  We agreed in principle – my action is to find out what relevant insights they already have and understand how these are currently shared and actioned within the business unit.  From there I will determine how I can use them to target our capability development work.

Idea #2 – Enable self-directed learning in my organisation – help people learn how to learn.  From Laura Overton, Managing Director, Towards Maturity “Driving performance in the knowledge economy – the secret sauce for today’s people professionals” and also the afternoon’s Social Learning panel.  The 2015-16 Towards Maturity benchmark shows that 83% of L&D leaders want to increase self-directed learning but only 22% are achieving it. “Top Deck” learning organisations are almost twice as likely to agree that self-directed learning is common practice in their organisations.  I’m going to look closely at the insights on self-directed learning in the 2015-16 Industry Benchmark Report that will be publicly released on 5 November to identify next steps to ensure my organisation is in this 22%.

Idea #3 – Introduce the Seek>Sense>Share Personal Knowledge Mastery Framework from Harold Jarche.  From Clark Quinn, Executive Director, Quinnovation, in the Social Learning panel.  Clark introduced this as one approach to self-directed learning that some people may choose to adopt if it were introduced to them.  Having found tremendous value in this framework for my own learning I’d like to figure out how to introduce it to others in my organisation.

Idea #4 – Use customer experience techniques to explore voice of the learner.  Daisy Hoffman, NBN, “Case Study. The intersection of digital workplace technology, culture and the physical environment.” In the face of disappointing makeup of workplace technologies NBN used customer experience techniques such as data analytics, focus groups, visioning workshops, personas, ride-alongs and use of technology to connect with people in remote areas in order to understand why this was the case.  Laura Overton had discussed the importance of voice of the learner, and I know that we could do a better job at turning up the volume and listening to this voice in my organisation.  Daisy provided some ideas as to how we can do this.

Idea #5 – Assess proficiency on an ongoing basis.  From Sunder Ramachandran, Head of Sales Training, Prizer, “Leveraging mobile learning and gasification to boost performance.”  Proficiency is fluid; it changes on an ongoing basis and is better measured on an ongoing basis rather than at a single point in time.  The mobile learning app that Pfizer have developed for use by the Sales team includes a monthly proficiency assessment consisting of a combination of 40% quiz completion (2 quizzes, best score of 3 attempts for each) and 60% coaching observation of workplace performance.  In my organisation we currently assess proficiency on the job at a single point in time.  I’d like to explore how we could introduce recurring / continuous proficiency assessment.

Note – the Pfizer case study was very rich.  It showcased an ingenious mobile app based on consumer models, which provide learning for the sales workforce in their workplace context.  I’ve picked one idea that I can implement independent of a mobile solution.

I’ve added to this list with my Day 2 Takeaways / Ideas.

For other Learning at Work attendees – what ideas have you gathered to take back to your organisation and try?

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Working Out Loud is a Powerful Reflection Method

This week I joined a 702010 Forum Community of Practice teleconference where one of the participants discussed how she uses voice dictation to reflect.  She uses Siri on her iPhone to  translate voice to text notes. I have two blocks of at least 30 minutes per day when I walk my dog, and voice dictation may be viable during these times. This would give me a written record of my reflections, and potentially material for blog posts.

This post is based on my first attempt at dictating a reflection. I used Dragon Dictation on my phone. I find it accurately transcribes my dictation and exports the text easily to a range of tools / platforms.  I’ve transferred it to Evernote by emailing to my Evernote email address.  Another alternative is to copy and paste from Dragon to other software where it can be edited.

Another technique I’d like to try is a short reflection method called the “5 in 5” technique which I heard about from the Curve Group at the Australian Institute of Training and Development 2015 national conference. The idea is to generate ideas for small improvements (5%) in a short time (5 minutes).  You simply answer three questions: (1) What? (2) So what (3) Now what?  I dictated my road test of the technique to identify how I could improve my reflection practices.  Then I expanded on this short reflection to create a blog post.

Photo courtesy of Snapwire

Photo courtesy of Snapwire

What?

Reflection is one of my personal learning tools.  It helps me to identify what is working well and what I could improve. I currently reflect by:

(1) Thinking things through in my head, which is efficient and mobile.  I can make observations and extract learning on the go.  However, I can get a little lost and go around in circles.  Depending on whether the responses or feedback of others enter into my thoughts, it may only be my point of view that I’m considering, which can limit the range and quality of insights.  I am also left without a record of my reflection for later use.

(2) Talking with others and engaging in reflection either intentionally or in the natural flow of conversation. Asking others for feedback can be done in many ways (e.g. “What are you happy about with this piece of work?”  “How do you think we/I could be making better progress?”  “How else could we/I improve on what we are doing?” “What would we (could I) do differently next time?”).  Different points of view arise. Talking helps me to discover and clarify my thoughts (it’s not unusual for me to be unsure what I am about to say when I start talking), so I find this method of reflection very effective.  There is also a level of accountability to take action on improvement opportunities I’ve generated with someone else.  Depending on the action I take I may have a record or artefact as an output of the reflection.

(3) Interacting with others online, e.g. by commenting on blog posts or via Twitter.  While it doesn’t give me the same direct feedback as talking with people I am working with, it provides opportunity to consider my own practices in comparison to theirs and identify adjustments or new approaches I could try.  Diversity and difference can yield ideas, insights and resources that help me to innovate.  If the idea is powerful enough I will make a note of it or add it to a task list to follow up.

(4) Writing a personal reflection in a journal I maintain on Evernote, accessible any time that I have a computer or device.  However, I sometimes prefer privacy when I am writing (no prying eyes on the bus!).  I also need to slow down and be still for long enough to write.  If I write soon enough after reflecting using the methods above I can quickly capture insights that I can elaborate on later.  Even if I don’t manage to elaborate my notes, the brief points can trigger my memory and further insights if I refer back to them.

(5)  Writing blog posts, and delivering presentations (e.g. webinars, conferences).  Knowing that this content will be shared publicly I document my reflection more thoroughly, providing context and thinking about key opportunities and lessons for both myself and others.  It provides a more complete record of where I have been, what I have learned, and where I am headed.  While I take care to present honestly and authentically, there are times when I omit some things out of respect for others, commercial confidentiality (which is far less of an issue than people sometimes imagine), or privacy for myself.  Working Out Loud so openly increases the accountability I feel to follow through on any improvements or next steps I commit to.  It’s a way of stretching myself.  However, this method of reflection takes a lot more time than any other that I use; and I am far less likely to do it if I am busy.  This is particularly true of blog posts where I don’t have a deadline to meet.

So What?

After writing the ‘What’ response I identified factors that differentiate these reflection methods for me and used them to rate each of method, as per the table below.  The first four factors have been discussed above. I added the fifth, ‘likelihood of use,’ to reflect how strong my current habits and triggers are to reflect using each method.

Reflection Rating

An interesting aspect of this road test of both voice dictation and ‘5 in 5’ is that as I edited the dictation transcript to prepare this blog post my insights deepened and shifted.  I have expanded my dictated text significantly, resequenced it, and added new ideas.  Nonetheless, dictating my initial reflection gave me a head start on this post and enabled me to write it quicker than if I had started with a blank sheet of paper. In many ways the combination of these two methods illustrates what the ratings in the table indicate – that all of these methods have a place in my reflection toolkit.

While I find reflecting privately efficient, the quality of my reflection and depth of my learning is greater when I Work Out Loud.  While this may seem obvious, I had not realised how much more effective Working Out Loud was as a reflection tool for me than more private methods.  If you are new to the idea of Working Out Loud you may find value in Sahana Chattopadhyay’s post Working Out Loud 101/Some Thoughts.

Now What?

My commitment to Working Out Loud has increased as a result of this reflection.  However, the reality is that life gets busy and it can be challenging to find time to blog and prepare presentations.  I shall use my dog walks as a trigger to reflect and capture key ideas into my Evernote journal using Dragon Dictation.  This shall provide source material for deeper reflection when I do have capacity.

I have missed blogging in the past two months as I have had a number of presentations to deliver.  I shall ‘catch up’ on blog posts by sharing content from these presentations, have another big push to finish the remaining 5 posts for the Social Learning Practitioner Program, then look through my journal for inspiration for future posts.

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