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?


Sometimes your audience is just going to pay more attention to Facebook

At the beginning of the month I was in India, facilitating a 2-day change management workshop. It was a follow-up to a 2-day session in October in which participants created a series of performance rubrics in order to better identify competencies across a variety of eye care-related skill sets.

As day 2 got underway, I happened to be walking behind one participant and noticed something curious: he had his laptop open (which is fine) and he was browsing his Facebook feed (which wasn’t quite as fine with me).

Facebook 2

Should I tap him on the shoulder and ask him to pay attention? Should I make a general announcement to let everyone know that it’s ok to have computers out to take notes but not to catch up on email (or check Facebook)?

I had a decision to make. In the end, I chose to Continue reading

What’s been your favorite moment in training?

Sometimes it’s nice just to pick your head up from the hustle and bustle of life and reflect on some of the best moments ever. I’m feeling like now is one of those times for me.

Below are six of my favorite moments as a training professional. I’d love to hear if any of these resonate with you and I’d love to hear about your own personal favorite moments in the world of training and development in the comment section!  Continue reading