I’ve participated in the mentoring program run by the Australian Institute of Training and Development for the past two years – first as a mentee, then a mentor. Last night was the end of program celebration event in Sydney, which Neil Von Heupt facilitated. Neil ran a ‘speed’ mentoring activity. Each mentee had a two minute conversation with each mentor to discuss their response to the three questions on the flipchart below.
The mentors were not forewarned of this activity, so our responses were very ‘top of mind.’ With the possible exception of the first question, my responses would be unsurprising to anyone who had worked with me in the past two years.
Most important aspect of my work
My gut reply to this when asked was ‘conversations.’ It’s not what I expected, and if I’d had more time to think about my response I may have crafted a different response. However, I think it’s true and is at the heart of much of my professional practice and development. I find it vital to talk with others to help me reflect, solve problems, ideate, explore, strategise and plan. As an Learning and Development leader, having a performance consulting conversations with people who ask for a ‘program’ or ‘course’ helps in identifying underlying causes of performance gaps and appropriate solutions (which may not require training). Conversation is also at the heart of social learning.
I’d like to acknowledge the influence of Harold Jarche in shaping my awareness of the power of conversation in learning – fittingly, through two very memorable conversations we have had at Edutech conference in 2015 and on a Skype call earlier this year.
In conversation with Simon Terry at Edutech 2015 – photo taken by Harold Jarche
Favourite tool for L&D
As a personal and professional development tool, it’s definitely Twitter for me. It’s turned my learning on it’s head since I started actively using it three years ago by enabling me to access people to engage with in a mutually beneficial interchange of sharing resources, ideas and experiences. It’s one place where I have useful conversations. Need more convincing? Read what others have to say about Twitter as a development tool.
Hot career tip
Make time for reflection using whatever method suits you. It’s vital to make sense of your experience, figure out what’s working and what you’d like to improve, and to inform your future actions. I do a daily reflection in Evernote using a list of prompter questions on this linked list. I write a dot point answer to those that seem relevant. At the end of the week I then use the weekly reflection questions in my list to draw out key themes. When I have the capacity I also blog about my work.
Which leads me to my second hot career tip – Work Out Loud. In essence this is what I do on my blog. Make your work and working processes visible to others – both when it’s a work in progress and when it’s complete. Search on social media platforms or an internet search tool (#WOL #showyourwork and #WOLWeek) for a wide range of examples of how you can make your work visible. Follow Jane Bozarth who provides practical guidance and examples to help you get started simply and quickly.
To maximise the career benefits of making your work visible, adopt the expanded Working Out Loud practice using the Working Out Loud Circle Guides. Adopting Working Out Loud has radically altered my professional development, enabled me to build a contribution-based network, and created many opportunities.
How would you respond to these three questions? Post a reply below or share your response on Twitter with #LNDcareertips