This popular calendar, produced in partnership with Diversiton, is now available to download. Use it to ensure you’re aware of important dates in 2014 including holy days, festivals, special events and bank holidays.
So said a little note when my blogging exploits were featured in People Management’s December issue around Social Media.
I’ve taken to blogging here on Tumblr as much as anywhere as I am beginning to love the informality of this platform. Nothing wrong with Wordpress or Blogger but Tumblr literally helps thoughts tumble out of my head.
So what is “putting a dent in the universe”? Well it’s a phrase Steve Jobs coined which Dan Pink repeated in his Drive RSA animate.
It made me think about impact. What impact do we want to have?
In some cases we want to get through another day in others make a significant and maybe even indelible mark on the world. Small mark maybe but lots of small, positive marks make for a big impact.
In conversations, in formal settings, in creating ideas, in sharing insight we can and do have an impact.
In conversations and formal settings over the last few days I have held my “dent” philosophy true and given my all to:
- a possible piece of work which could shape the success of a huge programme for a multi national
- excited someone about the possibility of a collaboration built on learning and sharing
- helped people see how they can become an enticing employment proposition and
- plotted ways to bring more energy and application to changing the world of work on a huge scale.
That’s why I have limitless energy for what I do. That’s why transacting with people is not enough. That’s why I receive joy through the act of helping others.
Selfless and self-gratifying in equal measure.
Are you setting out to dent your universe and make a mark?
Think big; act small someone once said.
Small dents are the things that shape the steel drums that produce the sound of joy and accomplishment.
Have fun making your impact of small dents that bring musicality to life. Or you can pound your fist on the desk of despair. The choice is yours.
Our new report finds that whilst social media is becoming embedded in our personal lives, a ‘social business’ revolution has yet to occur. Just 26% of UK employees use social media for work, compared with 76% who use it for personal purposes. Are employers missing out?
Read the report to find out how social technology is currently used for work and by whom, how it’s managed, and what a difference it makes.
And, listen to our latest podcast to hear experts talking about the impact that social technology has on their working lives.
Doing more with less: breaking new ground and holding your nerve
Maybe remix the title as doing better: being different
What do you do when your business is stuck? Stuck in a learning groove you feel is no longer delivering effectively, efficiently and energetically?
Successes and trusted methods are difficult to turn over in favour of a more radical approach yet that’s precisely what happened at the UK’s largest lottery distrubutor between 2009 and 2012.
Having NO leadership development programme, course-based operational learning and no online development to a blended approach that put the learner back at the centre of the equation. Research, revolutionary thinking and re-energising attitudes were all part of the approach taken to cut capital spend whilst increasing options.
Join me for a short review of some pioneering spirit, alternative propositions and a journey through change to make a difference.
A little > context
1000 people - highly intelligent, motivated to the mission of the organisation doing good and a highly established learning machine is a recipe for great things right?
Of all the things you could do with such willingness, such drive and determination and such fertile minds what WAS going on felt to me like a McLaren F1 doing the school run. An under use of horsepower if ever there was one.
Where do you start though? How do you persuade people who feel there’s nothing wrong with the current model that actually, there is a problem.
Firstly, know there’s something better. That’s done by being hyper-connected to the latest thinking and by pioneering spirits in the world of learning and talent development. If you’re not in this space already, good luck!
Secondly, find the gap. Spot something NOT being delivered, make a case for change, and deliver it. Not just well but world class well. In this case the gap was leadership development. There simply wasn’t anything specific that called to the sense of a career path for creative, committed and capable people. Award-nominated status. A return on investment (!) in the positive.
Thirdly, with this new found belief, faith and trust scope a series of changes that are in cpart logical and show evolution and in part frighten the life out of people through bold challenges to convention. Create a compelling story and narrative that illuminates WHY these changes matter; HOW you propose to deliver them and WHAT has to give in order to get this shiny new way forward for learning.
Fourthly, find some friends. Grab all the pioneers you can to rally to your cause. Those who, like you, believe there’s a better way.
Fifthly, do some research to find out what IS wrong with the existing model and create a “burning platform” to change.
Finally, and to me most importantly skill your learning professionals ALL THE WAY THROUGH so that when you’re ready to unleash new ways, they are already skilled in design, development and delivery of a new model.
So to recap we went from: -
Random leadership development to
Orchestrated symphonies of talent to progress
Course-based operational delivery which was like drinking from a fire hose to
Selected modules of just in time learning through experts; mentoring; coaching; online and social learning; secondments; and project-based work
Massive programmes of familiar training to readily available pull-down online and workshop based learning tailored to individuals according to their understanding and need.
And all this CUT COSTS by 50%. How do you do that?
Attirition rates on attendance of classroom learning slashed through shorter workshops.
An understanding that learning IS work not a red figure on a balance sheet or “lost” days. A different form of accounting to show investment not loss. No more desire to go outside of the organisation - capability inhouse was desired more.
Managers front and centre of the entire process to not select from a catalogue but source themselves and last resort opt into a training course. Less course delivery = more time to innovate and deliver lower-cost solutions.
Value 1:1 pulsating, personalised learning and devalue mass enrolment on courses where learning is piled on learners like a buckaroo mule.
Overall - an understanding that learning is an always on, self-driven process where learning professionals add most value through higher-end consulting/co-creating; coaching and facilitating.
Doing more with less? Doing better by being different.
It is well known of my support for my professional body.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development has had my support for the last 4 years+ when it was both trendy and to some degree deserved to question its activities and intent.
I gave CIPD my support for 2 main reasons.
1. It was good to and for me; and
2. I had belief it could do what was needed to drive the profession I had come to love forward.
So now I find myself working with them and seeing many of the things I believed possible coming to be. Call me lucky, a predictor or just faithful but it is so. I am not fussed what combination of these is at play.
So today saw me on duty FOR CIPD as a “back channel curator” and sometime poster of content for the Social Media in HR conference with good friends a plenty and new faces too.
Some may say that what the CIPD is doing around Social Media and the “socialised” aspects of work, learning, engagement whatever is good, some may say not enough some may say why bother?
It is still some people’s lot in life to be disagreeable with them. Some might say the relevance factor is lacking or whatever.
So I am not being overly loyal, romantic or naive by backing what the CIPD (and its media partner People Management magazine) are doing to put Social Media front and centre for its members.
From today’s conference on Social Media in HR it is obvious that the use and value of socialised technologies and business approaches IS changing what we know as work. And we are all having to adapt and learn, some more fluently than others.
So call out their research as “nothing new” if you like; but research is what it is.
So criticise their understanding of social business constructs as jumping on a bandwagon or ignoring what’s really going on in workplaces up and down the UK as lacking.
I though unreservedly applaud the energy and focus being shown by the CIPD to this area.
From adopting social to share content to pushing social as a key enabler for better work, we need our professional body to be like this, more than we all appreciate.
I am not aware of how other professional bodies encourage their socially savvy members to join them in spreading the word but the CIPD has done this for years and benefited from it more than any PR campaign could ever do.
Social tech and the need to rethink the shape and flow of work is happening and our professional body is with us to maximise what might be.
We should be quietly pleased this is the case and if we think there’s more to do, we should help them do it FOR ALL OUR SAKES.
Chucking intellectual stones just breaks windows of opportunity.
I remain loyal, spirited and behind my friends, colleagues and participants in the drive to improve work, working lives and our general well being as humans at work.
Social approaches ARE changing life as we know it beyond anyone’s dismissal as trivial exchanges. Value is being created in many unmeasurable ways and I cannot describe how proud I am to be part of that.
Social ways can be the saviour of work and with the CIPD we can lead the charge to make it so.
Congratulations to everyone involved in the research and the event today. Part of something special. Something worthwhile. Something for us all.
Big shift from tell and sell to involve and co-create. The older ways, newsletters emails etc still work for some stuff and TR have adapted to help drive and encourage collaboration.
Involvement in complex problems seems to engage people.
Simplification - Improve the customer experience - Drive…
One of the many reasons why I love social media! A random banter about Perry Timms plotting something mysterious leads to a suggestion of sharks with lasers from David D’Souza and culminates in this beautiful illustration from Simon Heath. I do think sharks, lasers and tornados is next level bad ass though.
So today I saw the future of the workspace online. No I am not going to give away specifics and yes it is in beta but there is a way that all the things we are experiencing about the shifts in work and approaches to involvement, innovation and the dreaded “e” word (engagement) all come to bear in a digital environment.
Yes there’s work to do but because of being in the social arena I get to shape and help create something that should lead to better ways.
Sometimes you have to hold your nerve. Because forcing an issue might just create a shallow wave when a big breaker is needed.
Some HR types will fall into compliant love with it; some might say it’s not adventurous enough and some will fear it for it challenges what they know.
But if they searched their hearts for what they believe is right they will see it’s an inevitable iteration.
It should kill email
It should lift spirits
It should hold leaders to account
It should grow responsibility
It should negate poxy ROI discussions
It could just persuade those disbelievers that a social construct to business is needed to make work “an act of love made good” (HT Siobhan Sheridan)
It should provide voice
It should fuel innovative ways
It should generate energy
It could arrive in under 6 months.
Here is the text of my speech to the Charity Learning Consortium conference due at 10.45 27th November.
What is the charity learner of the future going to be like?
'I've seen the future and it's a lot like now, just more unevenly distributed'. William Gibson
'We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives.' Woody Allen
We are obsessed about the future. Or are we? I would say not enough. No where NEAR enough. Think today’s important? Well that’s nothing compared to letting the future sneak up on you whilst your head is down and not being ready for it..!
This is one reason - amongst many - why learning is so important and why social learning is not just a trendy re-label for something we’ve been doing for years and that’s what I am here to do today - bring the future of learning that bit nearer for us all.
For the future of learning lies in social learning and I will aim to prove to you why I think that and why you should capitalise on this.
And part of my reason why is I will paint a picture of the charity worker of the future - the social business construct they will be operating will leave you with NO CHOICE but to provide access to social learning methods but that this may well be the biggest liberation of corporate learning we’ve ever witnessed.
Let’s start with a little of how we got to this point before we leap into the future. So we’re on a little time machine journey here.
From the shift from apprentices in the Middle Ages, to classroom learning in the workplace (which goes back to the very first industrial age job roles) people no longer tilled their own land - or that of others. They came to urban environments with the promise of a house; sanitation and a wage with which to pay the rent and buy the food. Of education in a local school; with a community of workers and workers families; of a craft or trade (however menial it might appear) that was - if you wanted it - for life.
And this state of affairs PRETTY much kept the wheels of UK Industry turning. Standards were introduced; workplace rules tightened up and training around those become mandatory as organisations took corporate manslaughter more seriously in terms of liability and costs. As we moved from industrial manufacturing to corporate knowledge work, we kept much of that model of compliance and tutor led delivery. Mix this up with the rise (and fall) of the Trades Union voices and the shift from produce to service and we saw a firm fixation on the adoption of classroom led training delivery for knowledge work.
And then we realised there’s a better way; that delivering adult education classes wasn’t exactly the best way to move people from unskilled to skilled.
Add into the mix then early e-learning; coaching & mentoring; Action Learning Sets; and sophisticated facilitation and assessment centres and we certainly took the spirit of this from industrial age teaching into knowledge economy training.
And here we are in 2013; an age where we send radio controlled planes into war; where body parts can be printed and where fuels CAN be advantageous to our planet yet we’re STILL hanging on to the belief that training is the only way to be absolutely certain of the transfer of learning and that online and randomised learning is not as good or reliable and something to be treated with huge caution. Are we holding on to a lost art/cause? In some cases yes, in others we are merely creating a more apt range of interventions and support.
Forgetting my rant on this for now (and I am a believer in a blended approach) but I learned more from reading books than anyone taught me in a room with flipcharts and tactile toys. I went to an event on Friday 15ty November; I live blogged using Tumblr and tweeted whilst I was listening to the 2 speakers Khoi Tu about superteams and Alan Watkins on neuroscience and physiology. I learned lots. They weren’t teaching me - they were enlightening me.
I love teaching - please don’t think I’m anti teaching. I am simply PRO-learning; however this happens. I am also a promiscuous learner. Drawn to many ways to learn and loving all in equal measure so that any trainer/tutor full of passion and insight plus the quality of subject, means I am learning in the traditional way as well as all this funky online and socialised stuff.
There is though, simply too much great content to cram it all in the pre-packed recipe that is taught in a classroom. There’s organic produce; quirky sauces of mindfulness and brain-food from the mysterious East; intimate spices from psychology practice; binary finary from the digital world; open space from outer space and more.
And social learning is a way of capitalising on some of the most impactful learning that is around for us all to grab and has been unleashed on us by social media and social approaches to the way we do our businesses. So this is NOT a total expose on the social business “movement” - Jane has ably covered much of that. This is how learning - and in particular social learning - finally arrives and is treated as importantly as the act of customer service, operational delivery or balancing accounts.
And that’s in the near future as our further future depends on our ability to learn.
It was Hans De Zwart - Senior Innovation Adviser from Shell who said “In today’s economy there is no way anybody can be an expert in a substantial part of their total field. The modern ‘renaissance’ man or woman is one who understands how to learn.”
So how does this help me describe the charity worker of the future? Well for a start, their most PRONOUNCED trait is that of their ability to learn; to share; and to be a self-resourceful learner.
Yet this starts with their hiring in the first place, so we’ll begin our glimpse of the learning-pro charity worker of the future in their learning HOW to be found.
The Social Media world will be our first stop for learning.
The learning happens in 2 ways: Being found and finding.
Charities will learn how to mine social feeds for people who give; people who sponsor and people who demonstrate an affinity for charitable giving.
And it’s a wise Charitable organisation that turns it’s donors into potential employees and/or signposters to potential employees. If you can enable more people to share/showcase their charitable activities using intelligently positioned posts, then we will all know what drives you; where you are and what else you tweet about. Social Media profiling tools are already available and will be more readily available in the near future.
So you WILL be easier to spot than Neo was in the Matrix. Hell charities might even offer some of their volunteers to help people get their social feeds right to get the job they deserve and in turn, turn people onto charities as a career choice.
There’s learning to be had around any of this selection process and the likelihood is, you will use more social tools to not only find people; but assess/validate them - yes it will happen - and then select them. Your assessment centre may be a linked set of social media based feeds and exercises. Turning up in person is so 2005..! Of course you MAY want to actually meet them and in that case, great do it. But social has a huge amount to offer beyond a slightly subjective (masquerading as objective) interview process.
And once you have them, of course you will induct them socially before they even TURN UP to your offices/branch/outpost. They will be tweeted by their colleagues; join the team’s Viber network; receive a quick SnapChat picture of their workstation, they will blog on Tumblr about their expectations and you will reblog it; there will be the induction videos on Vimeo that they will find and they will access the company internal social platform with a login sent to their What’s App messenger the moment they have accepted their contract.
So they will be socially engaged and they will socially learn before ever setting FOOT onto your premises.
Indeed a link is sent to the new recruit on Friday morning before the Monday start date which links them to the BaseCamp Project Exchange space and an invite to a Trello app for the key work that is NOT part of the big corporate project they will be joining. There will also be access to the App Store for the 30 company learning apps that sit there for free along with the company-specific SPOCs - online study programmes for people to enrol onto once the effects of the new job have worn off.
What does all this do?
It sets the precedent for what this charity is all about; socialised; driven by the individuals within the team; using free social and app-based technologies and hyper connected.
Your new recruit is a member of your events team handling the 2 huge fund raising events; the 7 regional committee get-togethers and the various opportunities to join in with other events across the UK including the CLC gatherings.
She’s not been to any of your events but knows all about them from following the Tag Board and Storify reports; from the Video feeds posted by delegates and the official film; and by reviewing the online blogs and feedback posted onto the Tumblr platform. Working out what worked and didn’t, who key event goers are and how to play this upcoming round is made easier by this and by data mining the social feeds.
Luckily for you, this new recruit was already tooled up on digital and social tools; that’s how you found her; their blog being the first instance followed by their LinkedIn profile and then their twitter feed.
This new recruit is quickly oriented, has held her first 2 stand-up and Viber chat meetings with others around the organisation and is ready to go and source her first venue.
Before she even does that, there’s the small matter of the day one blog ALL new starters complete and post to the corporate intranet. It’s not like an intranet used in say 2010 though, no siree -this is an EasyShare intranet; which is a rolling feed of dynamic internal and external content. Our new recruit’s blog is posted and appears on everyone’s desktop (plus the mobile workers’ portables (tablets/phablets). 190 likes; 12 responses and 17 badge pins makes this the most impactful day-one blog the organisation’s ever seen. Our new hire goes straight to the top of the leader board for positive influencers - a first for a new starter and best since the new People Development Director joined 6 months ago and hit top spot on day 3.
On route to her first venue scouting, our new recruit watches 2 new TED talks on her mini-tablet on the bus; shares some of the content onto the corporate ESN and tags 3 blogs in her twitter feed for reposting on the ESN. Her own smartphone was immediately tagged into the organisation’s network the Friday before joining. It IS her learning portal.
Taking video footage of the new venue; plus using 6 second Vines, our new recruit instantly tweets these out to last year’s key delegates. Within 3 minutes she knows she has made a good choice as all the comments report favourably on location but more the look and feel of the room for the big event. The venue’s own social media feed drew our new recruit to them in the first place. The contracts are checked and a date booked. The Trello app is updated and whilst on site, a broadcast from the Board Chair has pinged to her mobile device. Headphones in and watching the 9 minute update on last week’s Board meeting, our new recruit instantly tags the video; posts a like and 3 lines of feedback and then searches for the prior message from the week before. This library of corporate messaging and key organisational learning points receives the highest rating of any of the posted video updates. The Board Chair has improved the way she delivers those messages as a result of staff feedback.
Our new recruit is attending a workshop later that day around fund raising events put on by the CLC. She knows this because her PLA (Personal Learning App) has already identified this as a must attend. Checking in through Four Square, our delegate’s attendance is flagged on the corporate network and a colleague sends a Viber message to ask if she can seek out some answers whilst there.
She live tweets the insight; posts a short Tumblr blog which again, is uploaded to the corporate feed and the People Development Director himself pings a short message to thank her for sharing the insight - and all on day one.
7pm. Our new recruit heads home. It’s a good job there’s wifi power on this bus. The phone and tablet are zapped and charging whilst the bus pounds the streets of Bristol but the Heads Up display on her Google Glass is now showing the highlight reels from last night’s American Football as she unwinds. A nice glass of Chateau Neuf de Pape beckons. It’s been a great first day.
Science faction. That’s what this is. All do-able like this NOW.
My key take-aways for you are this.
Social Learning is an always-on; all pervasive; always useful thing. It’s there when you need it. Not lost in a fog; circling like a constellation of stars.
In order to gain from social learning you have to give to it. That’s why it’s so powerful; knowledge gained is only half the power; shared and it becomes whole.
Social technologies makes all this happen but it is the use of the tools that brings their true impact to bear.
The distance to travel from clueless to clued up is shortened by the wisdom of the crowd; the accessibility and instanteousness of social tools and by the attitude of the learner in grazing on learning not being force-fed.
That’s my view on the charity learner of the future. Sooner and nearer than you might think.
Thanks Charity Learning Consortium for your continued great work in learning.
Here’s to that unevenly distributed exciting and productive learner-led future