How I Decided on My One ‘New’ Activity for 2019

Earlier this week I came across Jacob Morgan’s suggestion to do one thing every year you’ve never done before.  He recommends this as a way to keep growing and learning.

Source: Shutterstock

I frequently take on more than I have capacity for.  The appeal of Morgan’s suggestion is that it improves focus and likelihood of getting really good at something.  The downside is potentially forgoing other activities that are interesting and valuable.  However, Morgan doesn’t say not to do other things.  My interpretation is to make one thing a key focus and put more effort into mastering it.

Without consciously applying this concept, in 2018 my one new thing was the Learning Uncut podcast.  I also did other things I hadn’t done before.  This included running a public workshop series and managing a highly collaborative global project virtually.  Each of these activities required development of new skills.  Each exposed me to significant learning opportunities.  However, the podcast stands out as it required the most sustained effort, and is I will continue to do it as a foundational element of my work.

To decide what my new focus activity is for 2019 I started with a short list of options.  They are actually all things I’ve done previously but, as I mentioned in a previous post, not all to the standard I would like.  The short list is:

  • Webinars
  • Dangerous Blogging
  • Online course(s)

I rated each from 1 (very low) to 5 (very high) using the following evaluation criteria:

  • Business Impact – Will it have a positive impact on my business success (sales, cash flow, profit)?
  • Contribution – Will it help others?  Over what time-scale?
  • Learning – Will it stretch me and help me to learn new, useful skills?
  • Joy – Does it spark joy for me? (An adaptation of Marie Kondo’s key question about possessions in their book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying)

My initial numerical evaluation failed to discriminate adequately between the options.  However, it did provide one critical insight.  I initially rated all options low against Joy.  To sanity check this I picked three activities that had brought me joy in 2018.  The common thread across these activities was collaboration and connection with others.  These were all activities I had undertaken with at least one other person and which allowed me to interact directly with many others.  This is something I have come to appreciate about myself in 2018 – collaboration is a critical ingredient of my best, most enjoyable work.  It also accelerates my learning.  So, whichever option I choose I should find a way to collaborate and connect as I do it.

I was still unsure which option to choose, so wrote a brief qualitative evaluation of each.

Webinars

I ran three webinars in late 2018, all with another person.  They are a good way to share knowledge and ideas.  Done well, they encourage action and support change.  They are versatile e.g. could be used for building capability, generating change and marketing.  I enjoy developing and delivering them.  They are a good way to connect with others and create an ongoing conversation.  I could so some in partnership with others, and some solo.  The technology and cost to get started is low and I could rapidly build upon my existing skills to deliver great webinars.

On the con side, a lot of webinars are delivered for free so it could be difficult to monetise them.  But not impossible.

Dangerous Blogging

This style of blog writing is about generating change in an area that matters to you.  The intent is to highlight what isn’t working now and share a vision for a different future.  My quest is to transform approaches to learning in organisations.  I’ve been blogging in this way under the guidance of a mentor, Katie McMurray, for two years.

This is different to my daily dispatches (one of which you are reading right now).  The purpose of a daily dispatch is to show a piece of your work for the purpose of learning and improvement in work practices (your own and others).  I find dangerous blogs much more challenging to write.  The stakes are higher and the effort to gather my thoughts and convey them more demanding.  I use a mentor for motivation, accountability and improving technique.  Katie Mac is also a source of good ideas and advice on other profile / publicity activities.  She provides a different perspective on my relevance and potential contribution.

I sometimes want to give up Dangerous Blogging.  I find it a lonely, occasionally frustrating activity.   I persist as I see tremendous value and potential to create change if I do this well and consistently.  It’s a longer-term play.  Belonging to Katie Mac’s Dangerous Blogging community connects me with a supportive group of fellow bloggers – we encourage and learn from each other.  Participating actively in this group is an important support mechanism, and takes the edge off the loneliness.  I could lean in more.

Online Course

I’ve developed online courses as part of a team inside an organisation and updated a largely curated course for a client.  However, I’ve not created any online courses in my own business.  Creating an online course requires a wide range of skills – all of which I could build or source through others.  Technology selection would require research and/or assistance.  I may require technical support with the build and/or hosting.  The commercial risk is higher on a course than a webinar.  Research and a lean development approach would help address this.  I could use webinars as part of my research and development.

Final Rating and Decision

I reviewed numerical ratings after completing a written summary.  Written reflection helped to clarify my thoughts and refine my ratings.

My decision on each option is:

  • Webinars – My focus activity for 2019
  • Dangerous Blogging – keep going, write regularly (one morning per week), participate actively in Katie Mac’s Dangerous Blogging community, build mastery over time
  • Online Course(s) – Assess in light of my progress in other areas and capacity in July 2019

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Questions to Help You Identify Your Development Goal(s)

Source – Shutterstock

Today I created a preparation guide for people joining me for a Professional Development Planning session.  I am offering 1 hour mentoring sessions to help people accelerate their development with a plan that will keep them future-ready.  We will use transformative approaches fit for today’s networked, digital era.

Note: I am currently running a competition to win a 1 hour Professional Development mentoring session.  Two winners will be drawn at 8.30am AEDT on 4 January.  See here for details of sessions and the competition.

Here are the prompter questions I’ve included in this guide to help people to identify their development goal.  Feel free to use and share these – with acknowledgment of their source

1.  What goal or project do you have in the coming 12 months that will really stretch you? What specifically will it demand of you that will be a stretch?  What knowledge or skills will you need to acquire or improve?

2.  What is changing in your industry? What opportunities does this create?  What knowledge or skills do you need to acquire or improve to be successful?

3.  Where do you see yourself in 2-5 years? Which of the following (if any) would you like to change:

  • Organisation
  • Position
  • Industry
  • Employment status (e.g. employee, contractor, freelancer, business owner)

What knowledge or skills will you need to acquire or improve to make these changes?

4.  Can you access a current capability/skills framework for your profession or industry? What insights does this give you regarding knowledge and skills you could develop?  If you are a Learning and Development professional I recommend the Learning and Performance Institute’s L&D Capability Map.  You can view the framework and do a free self-assessment here.  (Note – the assessment will take you 45-60 minutes if you read the skill descriptions properly.)

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Do One Thing Every Year That You Didn’t Do The Year Before

I’m refreshing resources in preparation to run mentoring sessions to help people develop a Professional Development Plan.  I want to give people a different perspective on what it means to take charge of your own development.  To unleash greater creativity and boldness.  To help transform approaches to professional development.  To help people stretch and build future-ready learning skills and habits.

I checked on Jacob Morgan’s YouTube channel where he posts about the future of work.  Some of his videos are aimed at employers and leaders, other at individuals.  I was looking for content talks about why continuous learning is an essential skill and habit for individuals.  I discovered one I hadn’t seen previously which excited me. It’s something I think I would benefit from applying.  My reaction is an indicator that it’s worth sharing with others.  It contains one key idea.

Morgan’s ‘One Rule to Keep Growing and Learning’ is to do one thing every year you haven’t done before – and to do it really well.  He’s talking about something big that you embed as a foundational element in the way your work and think (I would add ‘learn’ to this list of verbs).  While Morgan talks about this in the context of building his personal brand (which can be inside an organisation or outside), it is completely relevant to your professional development and future-proofing your career.

Looking back on 2018 the one big thing I did was to launch Learning Uncut podcast with my colleagues Karen Moloney and Amanda Ashby.  Of course, it wasn’t the only thing I did that I hadn’t done before, just the one that was the biggest stretch and took the most effort.  It will also continue so is now a foundational element of my work.

I have several options to decide between for my one new thing for 2019.  “Do I really need to limit myself to one?”  If I want to do it really well … the answer if probably yes.  Morgan’s point is about becoming great at one new thing.  It’s about focus.

I’ve been hesitating to name my one thing as there is an opportunity cost.  Putting effort and resources into one thing means less investment in other things.  After leaving this penultimate paragraph unwritten for several hours I realise that I’m not quite ready to pick my one thing.  I have short list of options.  All are things I have done before.  However I’ve not done any as well as I would like.  None of these skills or practices have reached the standard I aspire too.  I’m going to vary Morgan’s advice.  Rather than doing one new thing, I’m going to pick one thing I’m already doing.  Then I’m going to do it regularly, frequently – and become really good at it.  I’m not yet sure which to pick.  I’ll create evaluation criteria and rate each option.  I’ll also speak with some trusted advisors before finalising my selection.

Watch Morgan’s video below and let me know what you think of his advice.  Will you be doing one thing in 2019 that you haven’t done before?  What is it and why did you select it?

 

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Working Out Loud Circle Reflection – Trust, Psychological Safety and Courage

I finished a Working Out Loud Circle* this week.  Twelve weeks of meeting for an hour with three industry colleagues scattered across three Australian states.  Three people I did not know at the start of the year.  Now I have a close bond to each of them – as individuals and a group.  I’ve also made significant progress on a goal that mattered to me, through a process of purposeful discovery and building relationships.

In mid-2018 I facilitated a Social and Collaborative Learning course which runs over eight weeks.  A handful of the participants were very active in both the core course platform and on a Slack forum and public social media.  One of them commented that she felt she had found her tribe. I felt energised by my interaction with these people and the progress they were making with social learning in their organisations.  At the time I was in the midst of an extended period of travel, which can be a little isolating.  I felt that continuing our connection would be helpful for me both socially and in my work.  A WOL Circle was an obvious and appropriate pathway to achieve this.  Two of the group agreed to join the Circle.  Our fourth member was someone I had begun interacting with online that was interested in building her network.

We are complete humans

I was going to title this section of the blog ‘psychological safety.’  While spot on as a descriptor of the space we created in our group, it seems too clinical.  Although we each set a work-related goal, our experience in this Circle was highly personal.  We each brought our complete being as humans to the Circle.  There is an exercise in week 5 that can be pivotal to the group dynamics.  The Week 5 guide is aptly titled ‘Make it personal.’  In the activity, ’So much to offer,’ each person makes a list of 50 facts about themselves.  While it’s not required, we chose to share our lists with each other.  Boom!  All of a sudden I knew so much more about my Circle buddies.  Interesting stuff, things to start new conversations over.  My sense of intimacy, trust, respect and empathy for my Circle buddies increased dramatically.  It had been over a year since I’d done a Circle – I’d forgotten about this magical point.  Or perhaps I had just never experienced it to this degree in prior Circles.  One of my Circle buddies, Penny Liddington, created and shared the sketch below on social media after our Week 5 meeting.  It captures the joy of our connection.  (Bella is my puppy dog, who occasionally dropped into our meetings.)

Our WOL Circle. Sketch by Penny Liddington

That week we spoke a lot about how we felt about sharing aspects of our personal life at work.  We each had different levels of comfort with this.  It reminded me of Google’s Project Aristotle research into what made teams effective.  They discovered that psychological safety was the key.  This article about the research includes the story of an engineer at Google, Matt Sakaguchi, who wanted to improve how his team ‘jelled.’  One thing that shifted how the team interacted was Sakaguchi telling the team he had cancer, something he had not disclosed for many years.  It opened the way for others to share more about themselves and to have more honest discussions about work.

One of our Circle members started experimenting with sharing a little more about herself with work colleagues.  In our final meeting she reflected that this was not what she had expected from the Circle process.  Others agreed that the Circle process had led them down unexpected pathways – and that this had been valuable.

A WOL Circle can Expand Your World

A common misperception of those who haven’t done a WOL Circle is that you are only building relationships with those in your group.  The intent is that your peers in your Circle are there for support and to amplify your learning and building of good habits to support you as you engage with others beyond the Circle.  A good Circle is a space to look outward from.  It’s a set of people who encourage and empower you to build relationships and a network outside of the Circle. 

Building intimacy, trust, and psychological safety in our Working Out Loud Circle did not make us insular – it made us bolder, more courageous in the world, more likely to connect with others. 

I have more I’d like to share about this Circle, especially about how it supported me to make significant progress on an important goal.  However, I will do this in another post.  I just want to leave you to sit with the power of having a trusted group of people who help you be bold, courageous and build better relationships with others.

* If you are unfamiliar with Working Out Loud Circles go to www.workingoutloud.com for information and free resources to run your own Circle.

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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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The Critical Few – Using Keystone Habits

I’m in Week 8 of a Working Out Loud Circle.  This week is about building new habits.  One of the ways suggested to build new habits is to chart your progress.  Exercise 3 in this weeks Guide is to create your own progress chart.

I’ve used progress charts to support habit-building in the past.  With mixed results.  Actually, there is a pattern to my results.  I tend to struggle to embed new habits.  I was reluctant to create another progress chart only to struggle to stick to the habits listed on it.  However, I’d committed to do the exercises in the Circle Guides so pressed on.

Rather than create a new template I hunted through the files on my computer in search of one I could re-use.  I found one that sounded promising – ‘Resolution Chart.xlsx.’  I opened it.  Wow!  Here’s a clue as to why I have struggled to embed new habits.  I was confronted with a list of habits broken into 6 categories:

  • Health – 10 daily habits and 1 weekly habit
  • Money – 2 daily habits and 1 weekly habit
  • Career – 4 daily habits, 11 weekly habits and 2 monthly habits
  • Personal Development – 2 daily habits and 1 weekly habit
  • Planning and Administration – 2 weekly habits and 1 monthly habit
  • Friends and Family – 1 daily habit, 2 weekly habits and 4 monthly habits

A whopping total of 44 habits to track (19 daily, 18 weekly and 7 monthly).  My goal at the time was to complete 80% of these each month.  It’s tempting to calculate the number of data points per month to track this, but I don’t think it’s necessary to make the point.  Perhaps I should have added another one – to track my habits.  Seriously … I see now how this was setting myself up for failure.

This list is clearly unachievable and gave me a lot of reasons to beat myself up. However, there is a bigger problem with creating overwhelming lists of habits, routines and goals.  When everything is a priority, nothing is a priority.  I was not discerning enough about which of these habits would make the most difference in my life.

In his book ‘The Power of Habit‘ Charles Duhigg allocates a whole chapter to ‘keystone habits.’   “The habits that matter most are the ones that, when they start to shift, dislodge and remake other patterns.”  Duhigg characterises keystone habits as “small wins.”  Based on research on small wins he notes that they “fuel transformative changes by leveraging tiny advantages into patterns that convince people that bigger achievements are within reach.”  Duhigg also concludes that keystone habits encourage change “by creating structures that help other habits to flourish.” They create can atmosphere in which other behaviours emerge.

I set up my Working Out Loud habit progress tracker.  The complete list – just 4 daily habits – is shown below.

My Daily Dispatch post (such as this post!) does take around 30 minutes a day, so is not really a ‘small’ win.  However, if I pick my topics wisely each post can be used as part of the Reflection Challenge (#reflectchall) I’m doing this month at no additional effort.  This leaves checking my Twitter relationship list for my current WOL Circle goal, and responding to two posts that others have made online.  This could take as little as five minutes per day.  Not overambitious (for a change).

I’ll give this progress chart a go and report back at the end of month in a Dispatch.

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Recognising a Little Achievement

I’m doing a 30 day reflection challenge (#reflectchall) with two friends / industry colleagues.  We’ve agreed to post a public reflection on something from our work or lives every day in November.  I’m committed to the goal as I  see tremendous value in pausing and consciously thinking about my actions, feelings and experiences in order to learn from them.  However, I’m a serial ‘over-committer,’ so I’m going to be kind to myself during this challenge.  If it’s late in the day and I haven’t posted but am weary I won’t push myself beyond exhaustion.  I will simply miss the post and start afresh the next day.

I was going to write that I didn’t post a reflection yesterday.  However, I’ve just realised that this isn’t true.  I vlogged, as I do most days.  I’m currently vlogging using Instagram stories, which I download every day.  Yesterday I did an activity as part of a new course I am testing.  I recalled posting to my Instagram story about an activity that I found challenging.  I watched yesterday’s story and got to the part where I spoke about the challenge.  Then it hit me – I had actually publicly reflected in my vlog.  It was a brief reflection, and warrants further contemplation.  However, it counts.

My insight today is that I sometimes fail to recognise my little achievements.  A series of small achievements lead to a big achievement.  Yes, part of the reason I joined the reflection challenge is to push myself a little (after all, there’s a reason it’s called a challenge).  However, it’s not cheating to leverage an existing habit and include it in the challenge.  My act of kindness to myself today is to share yesterday’s story (below) and point to the segment at 1:36 where I reflect on my challenge.

 

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Service Blueprint Template

Earlier this week someone shared a ‘service blueprint’ with me.  It was a one page summary of key information regarding a methodology for a repeated service.  I’ve now used it twice with minor adaptations on methodologies that I’m currently designing.  It’s a very easy way to summarise key information about a methodology on a single page.  I’ve found it especially useful to (1) communicate expectations with multiple parties who need to undertake tasks (2) identify gaps in a methodology or toolkit.

A basic generic template is shown below and can be downloaded at this link.  If you do download it please post a comment below.  It would be useful to know what you are using it for and any adaptations you make to it.

Here is a quick guide to content of the service blueprint by row:

Stage – Break methodology into a series of stages and give each one a title

Maximum Duration – Estimate maximum duration for each stage.  You could also give a maximum / minimum range, or an estimated duration for projects of different scales or complexity.

Physical Evidence – List key physical artefacts that will be produced during a stage.  These provide evidence of completion of key tasks in each stage.

Customer Actions – Most projects have an end customer, be they internal or external.  Identify key actions / tasks for customer in each stage.

Consultation Actions / Group X Actions – Add a row for each key party that has to complete actions / tasks for any stage.  This is similar to a ‘swim lane’ in a process map.  Identify key actions / tasks for each party in each stage.

Tools & Templates – List key tools or templates that should / could be used in each stage.

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