Some sample questions from the survey…
Looking at these questions, I see the link with some other learning trends:
Johan De Meyer tells us:
..while Nathalie Verbinnen says:
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What have I seen in 2 decades of learning?
The changes seen are mostly related to the different ways in which organisations have changed over these last 2 decades:
…and what does this mean for the business world on a larger, global view?
We are no longer in the Industrial Era, but in the Knowledge Era.
What does this mean for Learning Professionals and HR people?
What is coming next?
…that’s where I stop. Hubert is speaking 3 languages and I have to save some brain power for my own speeches later 🙂
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In a stunning display of endurance and personal effort, faced with the world’s worst microphone, but powered by an enthusiastic exhibition audience, Dr Paul Hersey (one half of the famous Hersey-Blanchard duo) explained at ASTD2012 ICE how…
Leadership is basically one key skill: Influence…
Good leaders exert influence by adapting their style on the basis of two main things: Task result/goal-driven leadership or Collaborative/relational dialogue-driven behaviour. In my experience, most people have a natural preference to lead and be led in a way that sits somewhere on the continuum between these two things…
Depending on the current development level of the people you are trying to influence (with regard to the task at hand) one of 4 styles will therefore be required…
When using these different styles, it will be important to pay attention to simple guidelines:
A good leader is able to observe the development levels and needs of the person to be led (with regard to the task) and use the right leadership style. Development levels are defined in terms of commitment to the task (understanding and motivation) and ability to do the task.
By adapting styles according to the development level of the person (for the task), we increase and maintain motivation and develop people toward high performance… ..until ultimately, they don’t need any more leading and we can let them go!
For more information and to learn the relevant skills associated with Situational Leadership, check out www.klu.be and follow the course “Working with People” ….with me 🙂
My Twitter stream is full of excellent professional learning people and 1 major trend: Non-training based learning.
The continual repetition of ideas like 70:20:10 along with the SoMeSoLearn fashion and chats like #IHateTraining are having a great impact on the learning sector. People truly understand the first 2 suppositions of the Infinite Learning principle:
BUT: There is nothing wrong with training!
Many of the same people who are talking everyday about SoMeSoLearn, learning in the work stream, informal unintentional learning etc etc… don’t always say directly that training is bad. But I feel the intention is nonetheless there. And the training profession is not doing a good enough (or loud enough) job of defending itself against that intention. And while it’s harder to defend something that is not directly under attack, here goes…
I’ve been asking learning professionals 2 questions:
- What is the value of training? (as opposed to other learning approaches)
- When is training the right answer?
But before we get started, let’s define “training”…
Much of the anti-training movement seems to be fuelled by a particular understanding of what training is: People equate training with top-down expert-to-non-expert instruction, as if training uses exceptionally the S1 hierarchical/directive leadership style of Blanchard + Hersey’s Situational Leadership model and only the L+D department is allowed to manage it. I can understand why they would think THAT is only useful 10% of the time…. and it certainly isn’t adapted to much of the knowledge-era Gen-Y “connected” “Yes We Can” learning population!
…or, as Harold Jarche (@hjarche) told me: “Sitting in a classroom listening to someone talk isn’t training. It’s just a waste of time.”
But THAT is not how training should be…
During a Twitter conversation with CNY ASTD President Mark Britz (@britz) we both agreed on the following simple definition of training:
- “A formal structured learning moment that takes place out of the workflow, with defined objectives and curriculum/approach”
@hjarche referred me to the Wikipedia entry on training which says it is the acquisition of knowledge, skills and competences as a result of teaching specific things.
Note that neither of these definitions exclude learners from the definition and creation of the training package and they certainly don’t imply that the only teaching style to be used is top-down teacher/school-like instruction.
So far so good…. Now what about those 2 questions of mine….?
About the value of training
The added-value of training in terms of competence is in skill and attitude building, not knowledge delivery. Knowledge can be delivered via multiple other channels. The only knowledge to be attained in a training environment is self-knowledge, usually via constructive feedback following relevant exercises.
Sometimes a training environment is used to deal with objections and reactions to new information being acquired. For example, during a change project, people are put in a room together to receive and understand new ideas, question themselves, brainstorm and give feedback.
When is training the right answer?
When direct access to a subject matter expert over a condensed period of time is more efficient than self-learning or indirect access to that SME. Example: Hard skills learning like software, programming…
When taking time out from the workplace with colleagues is more likely to produce discussion, (team) reflection and brainstorming than staying in the workplace
When the risk of making errors learning on the job outweighs the investment of learning in a safe risk-free environment
@britz referred me to Mosher + Gottfredson’s “5 Moments of Learning Need” which states that training is only required when “learning something for the first time” or “learning more”. The other 3 learning moments can be done via other channels (performance support, SoMe, reading…).
@hjarche told me that “training is the right answer when there is a clear lack of skill/knowledge and when learning it for the first time”.
@charlesjennings told me that formal training is usually the right answer when dealing with (a) high-level concepts or (b) compliance demands.
… I personally add that all of the above is only true with the important (obvious?) addition that what is learnt in the training environment is practically relevant (“authentic”) and effectively transferred to the workplace. Training alone (no follow-up) will almost never do the trick. Training as part of an effective learning strategy will.
Good training is here to stay when it adds value because it’s done well and for the right reasons.
…and I’m looking forward to it 🙂
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Here is the post-it note list my recent trainees made about leadership competences over my 4 day course with Kluwer. Split into knowledge, skills and attitude…
Knowledge – a good leader should know..
- His own style of communication
- ..and those of the team
- How people on the team feel
- The team’s strengths and weaknesses
- What gets her own people in FLOW
- What is reasonable and what is not
- The mission
- About different personalities (eg: red monkey lovers)
- Which tools and resources are available, where and how to get them
- Different working methods
- The working environment, business, key players etc..
- Where we are in relationship to the mission
- The big picture
Skills – a good leader should be able to..
- Be clear in communications
- Communicate assertively
- Give regular constructive feedback, including good examples
- Adapt feedback frequency to the needs of the people (like with situational leadership)
- Make good decisions
- Moderate conflict
- Create strategic action
- Set expectations well
- Influence and convince people
- Build trust
- Use active empathy
- Avoid (or at least be aware of) assumptions
- Be objective
- Adapt leadership style to the needs of the people
- Evaluate performance with a blend of objectivity and subjectivity
- Build a good network
- Set priorities
- Create a good environment in which he can gather input from the team
- Stimulate problem solving
- Coach people (when it is right to)
- Mentor people (when it is right to)
- Direct people and hold hands when neceesary
- Deal with own stress and the stress of others
- Inspire the team
- Solve problems
- Adapt to different situations
- State objectives in a clear and motivating way
- Keep distance when required
- Think outside of the box
- Play purple (see Gavin Kennedy’s book on “Negotiation”)
- Admit when things go wrong
- Create effective teamwork
- Assign the right people to the right tasks
- Empower people
- Deal with change
- Use google 🙂
Attitude – a good leader should be ..
- Adult-minded (ego state)
- Think win:win
- ..but flexible
- Focusses on results
- …but not forget people, emotions and feelings
- Calm under pressure
- “Can-do” minded
This blog-post outlines a practical example of how social media tools could be used during and after training. If you have questions, send me an email…
What is the added-value of using social media for training?
- Improve understanding and retention of what was discussed in training
- Keep the learning process alive by creating longevity
- Provide additional references to your participants, this concentrating on Authentic Learning whilst in the training room
- Drive traffic to your blog site/Twitter account, thus improving your network reach
- Learn more stuff yourself (as a trainer)
How this idea started
- Following the @KluwerOpleiding #KluSome Trainer’s Lounge there was some discussion on our LinkedIn group about how to best profit from social media in training
- A discussion group member posted this film from @Tedtalks
- Another group member (trainer) used that film in training as an icebreaker to discussion on eNetworking
- I was asked for advice on how to best integrate more social media in the training…
What I suggested to the trainer in question…
Write a blog page outlining the discussion held during training
- This could be interesting for other people online who want to hear opinions about eNetworking
- An example of such a blog post can be found here (not about eNetworking)
- On that blog page, embed the original movie …or better yet, link it to a personal YouTube channel like this one
- Add some additional references that you have found that might add to what was already said (as on the blog noted above)
Create a group on LinkedIn
- This could be about eNetworking or about the overall training topic you were training on…
- Connect to training participants on LinkedIn
- Invite them to join the LinkedIn group
Start a conversation on the LinkedIn group
- Put in the link to your blog-post, inviting people to comment either on the blog or the LinkedIn group …this could be done immediately or for better longevity X weeks after training is completed
- Tweet something about your blog-page
- Email participants to let them know about the blog-page/LinkedIn group, rather than using direct LinkedIn invitations
- Add your blog-post as a comment on another page about networking
I hope this helps. I will add other practical examples of using SoMe to add-value to training.
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Reading @MiekWouters post about Twitter this morning on @KluwerOpleiding blogspot http://www.learninglive.be, I’m wondering: WHAT can be learnt on Twitter? Can it really increase competence? These are the questions I spend my time debating with non-Twitter lovers..
If we define competence as knowledge, skills and attitude, its clear to me that Twitter usage/benefits differ greatly per each one…
For knowledge, its really great. I have learnt so many new things via Twitter. The possibilities are endless …which leads to some of the issues with Twitter: How can you filter quality? Are you getting “the whole picture”? Who is right and who is wrong?
These problems are not new with Twitter and can be seen in all knowledge-sharing systems. Some organisations are tackling this issue by defining “knowledge coaches” who act as a hub or connector in the organisation to help people find their way through the masses of available information. Its clear that there is plenty out there, but how can we be sure to get the right stuff in?
Regarding skills, I already think Twitter is not as useful. I of course agree that new skills can be learnt outside of a formal training environment and some Web 2.0 tools are great for this. I recently learnt how to make Scoubidou’s for my 6 year-old using YouTube. If I didn’t have YouTube, I’d have had a crying daughter! …but Twitter already performs less well for me:
- It is mostly only a hub to other places and therefore not the answer in itself (although its still a great hub)
- With online skill-learning, it is very important to get feedback on your performance – Twitter can be a feedback channel, but that is not about the technology itself, rather the users using it ..and I think other forms of feedback will always be better
- All I do on Twitter is share and discuss, not actually practice (unless its communication skills and the ability to make short messages)
I think Twitter can be useful for attitude. It’s a great base for conversation, discovery and sharing. As with almost everything in our creative era, Twitter can give you access to new cultures, new points of view, new information, discussion, border-crossing… This is brilliant news for open-minded people who want to reflect on their own approach, beliefs, processes. In the last few months I have followed some great TwitterChats with @C4LPT and @RealWpLearn on learning in the organisation and “met” some really interesting people with some really interesting views. This allowed me to learn new knowledge, but also to think about my attitude, my assumptions. Twitter is not the only tool for this attitude-based learning – any communication can help – but the sheer potential of the network of people is blinding.
In summary, Twitter is great! …but you can’t learn everything with it.
…fortunately, because I’m a trainer 🙂
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