Welcome to our first blog post of 2017, written by Craig Kaye. This is the first in a short series of blogs from people who are passionate about the L&D Connect network and who are happy to share the benefit this brings them. As #ldinsight chats start up again after the festive break and we look forward to the next Unconference in Manchester on 10 Feb, we asked on Twitter, who would like to blog for us about what this network means to them.
Many thanks to Craig for being the first, and for sharing his learning and career journey with us. This post has a name that appeared puzzling at first. 3128? Was this boosting the potential of 2017 by adding 1 to each digit? Was it a look into the future? Well, Craig reveals all at the end. Enjoy the read.
It has become an important part of my Learning and Development Practice that when organising my diary I try my best to book out at least 60 minutes each Friday morning from 8am.
This is the time when numerous: L&D, HR and OD Professionals come together via Twitter with the hashtag #LDInsight to share knowledge, experience and opinion on a relevant open question of the @LnDconnect Administrators’ choosing.
But why is this important to me?
Well, seing as though you asked – let us together walk up my career path to date.
Approximately 10 years ago (showing my age now) I had an additional responsibility within an organisation to deliver a Peer Supervisory Session on a weekly basis, which would involve facilitating a Reflective Practice Workshop and trying to create a safe environment where staff could learn from one another.
“Would anyone like to start?”– the room would fall silent.
In hindsight, maybe Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need wasn’t being met, or the fact the sessions were compulsory by senior management, may have contributed to an initial lack of engagement. Worried that these sessions were not as beneficial as I would like, I did not feel comfortable taking it to my Line Manager in fear that I would not be seen as up to the job, or maybe next time there was a promotional opportunity I would be overlooked. Two intrinsic ‘isms’ began occurring in my working practice at that time – ‘Presenteeism’ and ‘Careerism’ – Looking back, that put unnecessary pressure on me to perform to standards that I thought other people (mainly senior management) would want to see. That whole sentence highlights nothing but Cognitive Distortion and an anxiety to professionally progress in my career.
Evaluations of these early sessions would be a very informal ‘Was that session okay for you?’ as the staff were leaving through the door at the end of Peer Supervision, would usually just manifest in a slight nod of the head. I knew these sessions could be more effective and useful.
As time went on, I learned new techniques on my own – skills and theory to fuel my delivery – but the main attribute I worked hard on was trying my best to make people feel valued during the session and as such it would become richer, more qualitative and safe.
I took these skills in to delivering training sessions, workshops and lecturers in the years and roles which followed in my career. Staff, Students, Volunteers, Service Users would usually give feedback of: ‘really enjoyed the session,’ ‘felt really comfortable,’ ‘Craig was really approachable.’ – All lovely, and great to hear that my delivery had improved morale and practice for those who attend in someway.
However, it dawned upon me a couple of years ago, that although people regularly say they enjoy my training ‘was it good?’ I had never had an experienced L&D Professional observe or debrief with me on any session I had delivered. A conversation where I can bring ideas to the table and discuss in depth potential new methods of delivery and best practice.
I was fortunate enough 366 days ago, to be successful in my application to be a Learning and Development Adviser, rather than being a manager and delivering training as an almost optional extra, a move which has by far been the best of my career:
My manager for the last 366 days Jo Stephenson (@JoCoaches) and National Learning and Development Manager for the organisation in which I work not only delivers meaningful, supervisory sessions with myself, which helps coach me to be the best I can be but also encouraged myself to follow a twitter account by the name of @LnDconnect and engage in the #LdInsight chats each Friday morning.
To which I did, and as I started this blog by mentioning I try my best to book out this time on a weekly basis, I also asked myself the question ‘why is it important to me and my practice?’
I experienced, when I first entered the learning and development world about 10 years ago, how isolating the role can become. Not necessarily in a geographic way as a decade ago I worked in a team full of 70 staff members but I was the only one who was involved in learning. As a result everyone was or appeared too ‘busy’ and nobody had the time, capacity or potential capability to have meaningful conversations about learning.
I am now fortunate enough to work as part of a very high performing L&D Team but what is equally as important to me is the #LDInsight conversations each Friday. ‘They make me think’ would probably be the best description I can give. A question is voiced (Tweeted to be specific) to which I’ll have an immediate view, which I’ll immediately broadcast – some challenge, some agree but what is important for me is to view the professional thoughts of others, to which I then immediately reflect in return.
A very quick 60 minutes later, my initial thoughts on a subject could change, be reaffirmed or even strengthened and it’s all as a result of highly experienced individuals generously sharing their knowledge. Additional to this, meeting individuals from #LdInsight in person in such events as ‘Unconferences’ and ‘Mentoring Coffee Catch Ups’ with the brilliant Kev Wyke (@KevWyke) expand my knowledge and thought processes even further. All of which help make me become a more reflective and congruent Facilitator of learning.
#LdInsight is having your own Personal Learning Network all in one place at the same time, to provide assistance, guidance and support and rather than you feeling that you are one person responsible for all your organisations L&D and the potential isolation that brings; instead you have 3128 colleagues just waiting to respond. That twitter follower tally was accurate on 4th Jan 2017.
Thank you everyone associated with #LdInsight – your support is worth its weight in gold 🙂
National L&D Advisor