Michelle Works Out Loud – DD#2 L&D Capability Assessment

One aspect of my work is to help build capability in Learning and Development (L&D) teams in organisations.  In a classic case of the cobbler’s children not having shoes, often there is no capability framework or development pathway in place for L&D function or roles in an organisation.  A client has asked me to create an L&D capability framework and development pathway for their use.  Since starting to explore this need I am finding other organisations that have the same need.  Rather than create something bespoke I’d like to use an existing generic / industry framework, with adaptation if necessary.  Why create something from scratch if you can meet the need with an existing tool?  Taking it a step further, I wonder if I can find a generic development pathway against an L&D capability framework that uses as 70:20:10 approach, providing a range of ways that specific capabilities can be developed through a mix of experience, exposure and education.  If this was supported by a range of good quality curated resources with links to relevant, active online communities and networks it would be a powerful resource.  Who else would find such a resource valuable?

Starting with the L&D capability framework, one that I have used both individually and with teams is the Learning and Performance Institute’s (LPI) Capability Map.  The LPI developed this tool in 2012 as an online self-assessment diagnostic tool to help L&D practitioners assess and benchmark their capability against 27 skills.  It reflects the breadth of skills required in a modern L&D function. The descriptions of capability at four levels against each of the skills are clear and help flag what’s needed to move to the next level should this be your goal.  When using it with a team I’ve had each person complete the free assessment and send their personalised reports to a coordinator who collated the results to produce a diagnostic ‘map’ of capability across the whole team.  We used this an input to our annual planning session, doing a gap analysis of current L&D capability to what we needed to deliver on our annual plan, and creating a prioritised team development plan.  The LPI provides a paid team Capability Assessment service.  Today I spoke with Leon Boland at the LPI who is sending me information about the process and output from the team assessment, so I can decide whether to present this as an option to my client.

However, the piece that the LPI does not have in place currently is any form of development pathway or toolkit against their Capability Map.  I’m now exploring whether they have a desire to develop this resource, and how I may be able to help with this.

How have others tackled the need for an L&D capability framework and development pathway?  Can anyone recommend other resources that may help to meet this need?

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Michelle Works Out Loud – DD#1 WOL ‘So Much to Share’

I’m in Week 5 of a Working Out Loud Circle (must be my 4th or 5th Circle).  The title of this week’s Circle guide is ‘Make It Personal.’  The Circle Guides are available as free downloadable resources from workingoutloud.com – here’s the link to the Week 5 Guide.

I couldn’t attend my Circle meeting this week (clash with a client meeting) so am catching up on the activities in the Guide, and sharing output with my Circle members on a Slack group that we’ve set up to stay connected between weekly meetings.

One of the activities in this week’s guide is one of my very favourites from the whole 12-week Circle process.  It’s called ‘so much to offer’ and is aimed at helping Circle participants to appreciate how many aspects of their experience could potentially be of value and form the basis of a contribution to someone else.  I like how this exercise makes me look broadly at my life experience and how I could draw on this to offer support and insight to others.

The exercise instructions are to write 50 facts about yourself.  Use the link provided earlier in this post to read the full instructions for the exercise and examples given.  As I’ve done this several times before and I’m in an expansive phase right now I pushed myself to put 100 things on my list, and to think about both my professional and personal life experiences.  Here’s a link to my list (made in Evernote) as an example of the range of things that could end up forming the basis of a contribution to someone in my network.  If you have done this exercise or proceed to do it and you are comfortable sharing this list please post a link in comments or share on Twitter and mention me in your post so I see it.  I’m curious to see what others put on their list.

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Michelle Works Out Loud – Daily Dispatches Experiment

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

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

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

 

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

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Personal Kanban Boards

I started using personal kanban boards about 10 days ago.  They are visible on the wall behind me when I videoconference with people, and many people have asked me about them during our calls.  So, here is a post about why and how I’m using kanban boards, and the value I’m getting from them.

Who isn’t busy, right?  I find it hard to resist a good opportunity or idea, so sometimes end up with a lot of projects on the go.  I’ve tried a range of ways to prioritise and manage my time across projects, business development, recurring tasks, administration and other activities.  I like the portability of electronic tools that synchronise across multiple devices, and have been using the 2Do app for a couple of years.  However, it can be time-consuming to enter and maintain all tasks in an electronic tool.  When I get really busy I revert to sticky notes and scraps of paper.  It’s quick to hand-write a new task on a paper note and easy to sort and shuffle them as priorities change – definitely quicker for me than with online tools.  It gets tasks out of my head, so helps me to concentrate on whatever I was working on when the thought of the task popped into my head.

However, there are still a lot of things on the list, which is now less portable.  The long electronic list has been replaced by a growing stack of notes.  Either way, they require regular review to figure out what I should do on any given day. I’m concerned to ensure that at any given time I’m working on my most important activities (I use the Eisenhower matrix to help identify what these are – but that’s not the focus of my post today).

In my search to efficiently managing tasks and be confident that I am focussed on the things that matter most I’m often drawn to online content about productivity.  A couple of weeks ago a post on Snapchat by Helen Blunden about personal kanban caught my attention.  What appealed to me about using personal kanban boards was:

  • the visual nature of it
  • high visibility of a physical board (as opposed to using an online variant)
  • ease of adding and updating tasks, and moving them from one status to another
  • satisfaction of seeing what I’ve done
  • ‘rule’ of not having more than 3 tasks in progress at any one time, to combat the downsides of multitasking

I decided to create a board for each of my top 3 projects (rather than one board with all projects mixed in together).  The 1-minute Snapchat video below outlines how I set the boards up.  I have since added a fourth board for a client project.

I’ve been using the boards for a week.  Every morning before I set down at my desk I check the boards and decide/confirm what I need to work on that day to progress my most important projects.  I add new tasks on a sticky note (1 task per note), and sometimes replace a high-level task with multiple more granular tasks.  I update the boards as I work too.  I’m finding the process very fluid and the boards are definitely assisting me to prioritise and progress my most important projects.  Importantly, using them also decreases my mental chatter about what I should be working on.

A downside of how I’ve set these boards up is that they are not portable.  I get around this in part by writing the 5 things I ‘must’ get done each day in a small notebook that I carry around.  (Actually, I write down up to 5 x Quadrant 1 tasks (Important and Urgent) and 5 x Quadrant 2 tasks (Important and Non-Urgent).  The quadrants are based on the Eisenhower matrix mentioned earlier in the post.)

Another disadvantage is that they cannot be shared with other people so don’t help with collaboration.  Some people in my network use Trello, which uses a board structure for task management.  I downloaded Trello several months ago, looked at it briefly, and deferred figuring out how to use it.  I suspect that the practices I’m using with physical kanban boards would transfer readily to Trello.  This tool is obviously portable and could be used with others.  I think I would miss the immediacy and visibility of the boards on my office wall were I to move from using them to Trello.  Of course, practices evolve so I may well be posting about my use of Trello (or something similar) in the future.

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Michelle Works Out Loud

I’m back!  It’s time for me to get back into Working Out Loud on my website.  I haven’t posted much on my site since leaving my job eight months ago to resume working independently.  I’ve given myself all sorts of ‘reasons’ (excuses?) for this.  The shift to working for myself has pushed me to rethink a lot of things.  One of these was my approach to blogging.  Since starting my blog in early 2014 my primary goal has been to Work Out Loud.  Now I also want to use my website as a marketing tool.  This shift has thrown up some fears/considerations for me.

I was afraid that if I Worked Out Loud about things I am learning or processes that I am improving (aka things that aren’t going as well as I’d like), that people might think that I didn’t know what I was doing or lacked expertise. I didn’t want to look unpolished or unprofessional.

I was afraid that it might allow people to apply my approaches without engaging me to work with them.  Would I be ‘giving away’ what I know and how I work?  I have discussed this concern with others who work independently and have grappled with it, endeavouring to find a balance with how much they share about how they work.

I was also concerned about whether people might respond differently to my Working Out Loud as an independent than they did when I was an employee.  Would they perceive that my posts were all about marketing rather making a contribution?  How might they judge me?

It’s time to move on from these considerations and fears.  During the recent International Working Out Loud (WOL) Week it struck me that it’s poor form for me to be advocating WOL and not role modeling it.  It lacks integrity.  So, I’ve set up two blog pages on my website.  This post is on my ‘Michelle Works Out Loud’ page.  This is my sandpit.  My posts on this page will be about what I’m working on and learning, and how I’m doing it.  I will also write about things that are on my mind – topics that I’m thinking about.  They will generally be written in less than 30 minutes, and may not be very polished.  They may ramble a little and jump around a bit.  That’s okay when I’m working out loud.  I’ll use theses posts to reflect and learn.  I’ll share them via Twitter – but generally not on LinkedIn (where I’m more concerned with how I present myself).  It would be great to get some comments and input from others with an interest in the things I’m working on and learning, to generate conversation.

My formal blog page (the ‘Blog’ tab) is where I will publish more mature and well thought-out posts.  They will be a mix of opinion pieces and show-casing my work more coherently that the WOL posts.

Regardless of which page my posts are published on I aim to write with courage and authenticity.  I’m pushing beyond  my fears and relishing the learning and opportunities that Working Out Loud more frequently will create.

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Join me in Sydney for a Social Learning Workshop 13 March 2017

Are you interested in using social / collaborative learning strategies to create impactful, engaging, high-quality learning experiences?  Join me in Sydney on 13 March 2017 to hone your skills designing and implementing social learning solutions.

Outcomes

In March I’m facilitating a program that is focussed on using social / collaborative approaches as part of a learning solution to meet a business need.  As a result of participating in this program you’ll be able to do the following:

  1. Determine how social learning can help address your specific business problem / opportunity
  2. Design or redesign a learning solution to effectively incorporate social learning
  3. Select social learning activities and enabling tools to use in your solution
  4. Develop a strategy to implement your social learning solution

How This Program Works

learning-playThis is a program about social / collaborative learning.  As such it is a social learning experience.  There are three elements to this program:

Pre-workshop – You can familiarise yourself with the program by viewing a small set of online resources.   It is essential to select an appropriate workplace project to work on during the workshop – guidance is provided in a pre-workshop introduction to assist with this selection.  Participants are also invited to join a private online discussion forum in LinkedIn.

Workshop – This is a highly participative and collaborative event, focused around a number of individual and group activities.  Participants will be able to work on the design of a social learning solution for your workplace project.  You should bring your smartphone, tablet or laptop as we will be making good use of them to access web resources and use online tools.  We will use a shared Google document for collaborative note-taking, and you are invited to use the LinkedIn group as a backchannel.

Post-workshop – The LinkedIn group will remain active for at least four weeks after the workshop.  You are encouraged to continue to work on your social learning solution, and you may seek feedback on your solution via the  group.  You also have the opportunity to participate in the collaborative development of a social learning resource.  Additional resources will be posted and you can continue the conversation with the group online.

How to Enrol

The workshop is being run as a pre-conference event at the 9th Annual Blended Learning Conference.  For more information on the workshop, about me as your facilitator, and how to register download the brochure.

Follow on Twitter

Use the hashtag #blc to follow the Blended Learning Conference backchannel.

Add the hashtag #soclrn to follow the public backchannel for the workshop.

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#WOLWeek Day 7 – Plan Next Steps

Last week (7-13 November 2016) was International Working Out Loud Week (#WOLWeek). I used 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.

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Image source: WOLWeek.wordpress.com

In addition to consciously completing the WOL activity each day I committed to writing a blog post about that activity.  My posts described both what I had done on the day as well as my experience with that activity during my current WOL Circle.  Over the past few days I’ve been reflecting what I’ve learned and what I will do differently in coming weeks.

Reflecting on my Goal

A goal needs to be something I care about in order to motivate me.  I’ve realised that to be a high enough priority for me to put sustained effort into it over the 12 week period of a WOL Circle it also needs to be highly relevant to my current work.  It needs to be something I can apply to a current project.  In the nine weeks since the start of this Circle my work focus has shifted.  I’ve started an assignment with a new organisation, but I didn’t update my goal to be relevant to this project.  Consequently my attention has moved to the new assignment and I’ve struggled to make time to progress my original goal.

Working Out Loud is a Force Multipler

On Day 5 I described WOL as a ‘force multiplier‘ – “it amplifies your presence and accelerates you work.”  Although it’s challenging to change your practices to build WOL into the flow of your daily work, the value of working in a more open, connected, generous way is tremendous.  WOL has helped me to:

  • build my network and forge deeper relationships
  • improve my practices and the quality of my work by helping me find resources, get early input and feedback from others, and build on the experience and work of others
  • make faster progress on my goals
  • create new opportunities

Power of Making Your Work Visible

Making your work visible (also known as ‘showing your work’ or ‘narrating your work’) is powerful for many reasons.  For me, one of these reasons that it forces me to consciously reflect on my work rather than plough on in a near-continuous stream of activities.  Secondly, it increases my accountabilty to make progress.  It also leads to connection and conversation.

Power of Conversation

When I work on a project, especially where there is something novel about it for me,  my thoughts shift over time.  There is a process of discovery where I gather information, start processing it, hypothesise, gain insight, make some progress then find something new which results in me updating my view.  The quality of my thinking greatly improves if I can ‘think out loud.’  I can do this by sharing my progress – making my work visible in any appropriate format.

Having a conversation about what I’ve shared is even more powerful, especially if it’s with someone who has some relevant experience or is able to challenge and extend my thinking through the use of powerful questions or different perspectives  The way in which I make my work visible can increase the number of helpful conversations I generate.  I can:

  • target who I share my work with
  • practice empathy and share my work with people to whom it is relevant, and explain why they should care (what’s the WIIFM?)
  • make it easy for others to consume and process by keeping it brief and clear
  • share early in the process
  • ask for input and help
  • maintain and communicate an open mindset
  • thank people for their help
  • acknolwedge the contribution of others

What next with WOL for me?

The reflection on my goal and the power of Working Out Loud have led me to change my goal for the remaining three weeks of my WOL Circle.  My new goal is:

“to Work Out Loud in the flow of work in my current role.”

This goal will help me to build my network in my new organisation, find people with an interest in the work I am doing, access a range of assistance, and reduce the risk that I duplicate work that has already been done.  While waiting for access to the organisation’s IT infrastructure I have had the opportunity to present in person to a range of forums, and have accepted all subsequent invitations to meet with interested people.  I have IT access from today, and look forward to the experience of using Yammer within an organisation for the first time and observing how the learning community is connecting and collaborating online.  I will use Simon Terry’s 3 tiny habits to build working out loud into my day as I familiarise myself with this new environment.

On the flip side, I felt that while I was blogging daily last week I spent more time in ‘output’ mode than in ‘listening’ mode in my networks.  I feel a need to redress the balance and listen more in my public networks over the next few weeks, looking for opportunities to engage and contribute too others along the way.

What did you learn during WOL Week?

Please post below to let me know what you learned during WOL Week, or at any other time when you have worked out loud.

 

 

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#WOLWeek Day 6 – Celebrate Help

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

I’m now into Week 9 of my current Working Out Loud (WOL) Circle.  Today I celebrate the help I have received from the three people in my Circle as I’ve worked towards my goal to “to clearly explain the impact of knowledge and expertise on Australian organisations.”   Among the contributions my Circle buddies have made are:

  • suggesting how I could find people relevant to my goal
  • offering a different perspective on reading recommended in each week’s Circle guide, giving me the opportunity to strengthen my WOL practices – even though I’ve read these articles several times in previous Circles, new insights and examples continue to arise in Circle discussions
  • providing a safe space to reflect on my progress each week, discuss my WOL challenges, and helping me to identify adjustments to get me back on track with my WOL habits and routines
  • encouraging me to keep going when I was tired or busy (or both!)
  • inspiring me with their own progress
  • showing me different ways that Working Out Loud can be accomplished, reminding me that there is no one best way and to stay flexible and open in my practices
  • giving me a sense of responsibility as the WOL Circle coordinator to set a good example
  • holding me accountable to do what I say I will each week

This is the fourth WOL Circle I have participated in.  It will not be my last.  It’s a joy to share the experience of Working Out Loud with others, to see them make progress and experience the impact of generosity on relationships and the value of working in a network.  The peer accountability and structure of activities over the 12-week period also move me consistently towards a goal, helping me to achieve far more than I ever could without support.

Have you been in a WOL Circle?

If you have been in a WOL Circle please take a moment to share below about the contribution that your Circle buddies made to you.

Further resources:

 

 

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#WOLWeek Day 5 – Share A Need: WOL is a Force Multiplier

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

Working Out Loud is a ‘force multiplier.’  When you Work Out Loud it builds your network – both in terms of breadth (the number of people you are connected to) and depth (familiarity or intimacy with specific people in your network).  Others in your network then start to act on your behalf.  When you share your interests and needs, others send you relevant resources and connect you with people with the same or related interests.  On Day 5 of WOL Week I didn’t have to share a need – because someone in my network did this on my behalf.

Based on my Day 1 WOLWeek post where I shared my purpose, Bruno Winck shared my need with the #PKMChat community via Twitter, with a specific request (communicated via the use of ‘ping’) to Stephanie Barnes (@MPuzzlePiece).  Stephanie replied with an invitation to contact her.

It’s wonderful the way that Working Out Loud amplifies your presence and accelerates your work.  If you have a story to share about how someone in your network has helped spread the word about something you needed help with please share it in reply to this post.  Stories are a good way of communicating the value of Working Out Loud.

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#WOLWeek Day 4 – Share Your Progress: Resources on Impact of Knowledge and Expertise in Australian Organisations

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.”

My Progress

For six weeks I played internet detective and asked people in my Australian network for advice on case studies and research relevant to my goal.  I did start out with some case studies from conferences, but was looking for more comprehensive research and analysis.  While there is a lot of online content on Knowledge Management (KM) I haven’t yet identified many detailed case studies or research that directly addresses my goal.  The most promising resources are:

Australian Studies in Knowledge Management (free online access) – This book is a compilation of articles by Australasian academics and practitioners founded on their research and experience. It brings together a range of approaches seen in Knowledge Management (KM) research and practice in a logical sequence incorporating the most important elements of knowledge management.   It explores knowledge management frameworks and identifies some common elements that are explored in subsequent parts of the book.  Of particular relevance to my goal is the chapter ‘The Strategic Question: Why Manage Knowledge.’  This book was recommended by Rob Wilkins, who works in Information Management in the NSW Department of Education. Rob suggested that although this book was published in 2003 much of the content remains relevant.

Knowledge Management Survey (available to purchase for 95GBP = approx. AUD$160) –   This report on a global survey conducted by Knoco in 2014 includes data and analysis of a range of KM aspects in organisations including:

  • The focus areas, business drivers and strategies for KM across business sectors.
  • The benefits delivered through KM, in dollar terms, and intangibles.
  • Business metrics impacted by KM.

I hesitated to spend the money on this report, but did eventually as I’d not found any free / cheap data elsewhere. I’m waiting to receive my copy and hope that it will provide a geographic breakdown of data or commentary on common trends versus differences by region.  Even if it doesn’t, the global data should be of considerable value towards my goal.  Thanks to Ian Fry for recommending this resource and for our ongoing dialogue on KM from a practitioner’s perspective.

KM Body of Knowledge (BOK) Site Mockup – This is an interesting resource which was recently created as an example of what an online BOK might look like.  It was automatically generated using a data compiler (visit the site for more information on how it was created).  It provides links to a range of KM resources including book lists, communities of practice, capability frameworks, and tools.  I’ve given it an honorary mention as it is a launch pad for further discovery, and also as I think I could use this compilation method to efficiently create and maintain similar resource gateways for other knowledge areas. I discovered this resource by following a discussion on the Australian Society for Knowledge Management forum http://www.auskm.org where the community is ideating about a KMBOK.

My Next Steps

  1. Focussed effort reading these resources and identifying the information that will help me construct my explanation of the impact of knowledge and expertise on Australian organisations.
  2. Start compiling a list of relevant Australian case studies.
  3. Start drafting my explanation in response to my goal.

 

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