L&D Professionals Need to Work Hard, Play Hard

Road trip to Cheyenne

Spend 5 hours working on my laptop at the airport before flying home, or take a quick road trip to a state I’ve never visited? Even with deadlines looming, it was a no-brainer.

Last week I was in Colorado to observe the pilot phase of a new training module. I had a travel day followed by a 17-hour workday and then up early the next day for the actual presentation.

I’ve had a lot of projects to work on lately, which is a great thing, but it’s also led to a lot of long days without much rest. As I was digging through my computer bag during this recent trip, sifting through a tangled mess of power cords in a frantic search for the right one, I came across a card that a colleague had given to me on the last day of my previous job.

This colleague said that some of the most important lessons I taught her were some of the day-to-day things. These day-to-day lessons included: never eating lunch at your desk, sometimes you have to take the time to watch a full-length movie during work hours (and then be inspired to turn that experience into something groundbreakingly amazing), and we should put plenty of weight on the “fun” factor as a way of increasing quality.   Continue reading

Guest Post: Collaboration to Light Up Your Day

Light Up My Day

As many of you know, I recently launched a learning and development company named Endurance Learning. My co-founder, Tim Waxenfelter, shared the following story with me a few weeks ago and I thought it would make an excellent guest blog post.

When it comes to instructional design, having someone to bounce ideas around with generally leads to many, many better outcomes than if I’m just sitting by myself thinking through the design of a session. Following are Tim’s observations and thoughts on the idea that two heads are better than one:

I’m very lucky to be able to have my whole family together every night for dinner. It is one of my favorite parts of the day. We have a tradition where we ask “what lit up your day?”   Continue reading

What too many training professionals have in common with North Carolina legislators

The so-called North Carolina bathroom bill has been all over the news since it was passed back in March. Issues involving transgender people can quickly drive high emotions on both sides of the debate, but for the sake of a learning moment, let’s put feelings and politics aside for a moment. Here is how Wikipedia has recorded the history of this piece of legislation:

  • On March 23, 2016, the North Carolina House of Representatives held a special session and passed “House Bill 2” (the bill states that in government buildings people must use restrooms according to the gender on their birth certificate)
  • About 3 hours later the North Carolina Senate also passed the bill
  • That evening it was signed by the governor

Emotions were running high. Immense resources were mobilized. An emergency session was called. And a bill was passed with supernatural speed.

Yet, there’s no data to support the idea that this was an emergency or that it was a solution that solved any real problems.

A proposed solution, with no supporting data, seeking to solve a problem that doesn’t seem to exist.

The preceding sentence can also be used to describe too many corporate learning and development initiatives. Continue reading

The best question I’ve found to open a training session or strategic planning workshop

Jeopardy Clue - 1

About a year ago, I was preparing a workshop when my co-facilitator suggested that we add a question into the opening icebreaker activity.

The question seemed a little too touchy-feely for me, but he was persistent, so we left the question in. I wasn’t expecting very high quality responses, and I was surprised when people actually gave sincere answers to the question.

It worked so well that I have since incorporated it into the opening of many of my training sessions and strategic planning workshops.

The question is: Continue reading

My favorite professional development experience, ever, was…

Antioch - Listening with Humor

Good professional development moments make us smile. Or make us smack our heads and say “ah-ha!” The best ones inspire us to do something new or differently or better.

When we’re delivering training, the best moments might come when we see the light come on in someone’s brain, when someone smacks their own head and says “ah-ha!” Or maybe the best moment comes two weeks later when you walk by someone who was in your training session and you see them using the skills you trained them on.

Back in January, I shared a handful of my favorite training experiences.

Today, I’m traveling in and around the DC-area in order to deliver several presentations, so I’d like to ask a favor and get some help with today’s blog post.

It’s time to make this blog a truly social experience.

If you have two minutes (maybe you’re reading this on your bus ride in to work, or perhaps you’re reading this during some boring meeting that got stuck on your calendar), go to the comment section and do one or both of the following:

  1. Write about your favorite training experience.
  2. Respond to someone else’s comment (assuming anyone writes a comment) if it resonates with you.

You can write it in 10 words. You can write it in 10 sentences. Be as pithy or wordy as you’d like.

If you know someone else who you think has a good moment to share, pass this post along via email or Twitter or LinkedIn. The more comments, the merrier!

I promise to be back on Thursday with more insights and ideas and maybe even a tip or two for you to use. For today, however, why not learn from one another?