Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Looking Forwards

Two things crossed my desk today.
Well let's be honest one of them landed on the desk and one of them hit my e-mail inbox.
First off I got an email telling me that Bersin and Associates have just published their 2012 predictions report. In it they make 14 predictions for things that will affect the Talent Management world next year (TM include Learning & Development according to them, so who am I to argue?) Two of them that I am most interested to read about on the train home this evening are Number 5 "Employee Engagement Takes Center Stage" and Number 7 "Performance Management will go Agile"
On the engagement front they are saying that companies will have to "specifically develop engagement, development and incentive programs targeted towards Gen-X and Gen-Y in order to grow" The companies I know of that I most respect won't be doing this....because they already have them.
On the Agile PM side they say that their research is showing that companies who perform well have moved away from annual goal setting and reviewing processes to something that is quarterly or even more often.  Shocker folks!  The Millennials have had feedback rich lives in every respect up until they arrive at work. There are some that say that these Millennials will need to adjust to how work IS.  I say that work will soon have to adjust to how its workforce is.

The other thing is Training magazine's latest issue. One the front cover it points out that Training expenditures 'shoot up' by 13% while the average trainer salary has increased by $800.

I guess we are 'the 1%'

I'll let you know what other gems I find in there. 


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Applying Improvisation

As I mentioned in a previous post, Learning is my profession and Improv is my passion.
You might think that the two are entirely separate places but if you thought that you would be wrong.
Although Improv is most commonly thought of as a stage skill, there are bunch of people who take improv off the stage and into a whole range of other forums, from the corporate training room to coaching sessions, from community programs to organizational change management consulting.
A few years ago these people got together and created The Applied Improvisation Network.
I've been associated with this group since 1994 and in that time I've seen them grow is lots of wonderful ways. The first event of theirs I attended was their 2004 Conference in San Francisco. I think it was their 3rd or maybe 4th. Since then they have had international conferences each year, mostly over here in North America but in 2010 they had their first International conference in Europe. I should point out that AIN Europe has been active for a while and have had at least 3 Regional conferences before hosting the full international one. There have also been regional conferences in Asia and the first AIN 'Downunder' is set for 2012.
These people all share a common belief. That the improvisational approach and skills that allow a troupe on stage to create something out of nothing, can be used in a variety of non stage ways to do some amazing things.
Personally I believe that pretty much any 'soft' skill related to interpersonal interactions can be honed and improved using pretty much any exercise or game that a improv group uses to either warm up or perform with. A skillful facilitator can frame any exercise and then debrief it to pull out points to help learners see how they could do things differently, maybe even better.
The Applied Improvisation field is gaining more and more ground. The topic is being taught in business schools around the world, in law schools and is rapidly moving into the mainstream within the learning and development fields. ASTD had Second City provide one of their Keynotes at the 2010 ICE. I've attended (or facilitated) 2 events over the last year on the topic at my ASTD Chapter. More and more books on the subject are being published.
Maybe it's time for me to look for a better way to make a living by combining my passion with my profession.

Monday, November 7, 2011

I wonder if anyone is intrested in my point of view?

Over the last few years I've been following the move of the Learning and Development world into Social Media. the concept of Social Learning is a growing idea. Experts like Jane Bozarth are wonderful sources of ideas on this topic. Over thelast 12 months I gotten more active on Twitter and various Linkedin groups around L&D. I've even taken part in a few LRNCHATs as well.The one thing I'm wondering is as a follower in this area who might even be interested in my point of view. Then today I followed a tweet from Larry Straining (The man with the most suitable name for an L&D professional I've ever heard of) that said essentially that there is no excuse for me, or anyone, not to be blogging. Well there is only one way to find out if anyone cares, or is even bothered.

And this is it.

I'm going to try and post something once a week on a topic that interests me in the L&D area. I've no idea what they will be about or if anyone else will find them interesting, but without trying I'll never know.

A bit about me

I've been involved in the Learning and Development arena for 15 or so years.
I made the move from Technical Specialist to Trainer while working for Clerical Medical back in the UK. I learned about learning via a wonderful Train the Trainer class built around Accelerated Learning by Mark McKergow and Paul Z Jackson. I joined and was active with learning organizations such as SEAL in the UK and IAL once I moved to the US. I joined The ASTD both nationally and my local Chicagoland Chapter CCASTD in 2009 and in 2011 I successfully completed my Certified Professional in Learning & Performance, and joined the CCASTD board as Co-VP of Finance.

I am also an improviser, and have been lucky enough to study at some of the great Chicago Improv schools, including Second City, ComedySportz, Improv Olympic (now called IO as the IOC have no sense of humor!) and most recently under the great Mick Napier at The Annoyance.

So Improv is my passion, and Learning is my profession.
Luckily the two come together.
In another Blog I promise to tell you all about the Applied Improvisation Network and my involvement with them over the years.

In May 2012 I moved to San Francisco with my wife. The Next adventure awaits