The Future of Learning and Development

The Future of Learning and Development: Best Practices and Insights

Chief Learning Officers Share Insights on the Future of Learning and Development

Training and Development (TD) award-winning learning and development leaders share their insights from past successes and discuss the future of learning and development on Asking For a Friend Live with Karin Hurt. We ground the discussion in their new book Forward Focused Learning. The book offers practical best practices and provocative conversation about future of learning and development.

Asking For a Friend: What Are Best in Class Organizations Doing Around Learning and Development?

 

Asking For a Friend: Audience Questions

After each of the panel members shared some of their leadership development best practices and insights from their book, we opened the discussion to the audience. Here a few of their questions about the future of learning and development and best practices based on their learning and development experiences.

forward focused learningQuestion 1:  Are we going back to in-person learning? What is the future of learning and development?  #AskingForaFriend

Panel Response:

Karin Hurt, CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders

There’s so much that’s working: The spaced learning over time, makes even international cohorts of people going through together has become easier. And, of course there’s the reduced cost of travel.  I know a lot of our clients have saved huge amounts from their travel budgets and reallocated that for their learning and development programs. And,  we’re also still yearning to get back together. For some things, you can’t beat face to face.

Let’s bring this important question to the panel.

Andrew Kilshaw, Global transformative HR leader – VPHR / Chief Learning Officer – Shell (ex-Nike, BlackRock)

I have a quick track of that one. I’ve got three, three things super quickly.

1. Learn to serve a diverse workforce

The first is at the moment we’ve got two different groups in the workforce who are having challenges. We’ve got people who are brand new into the workforce, out of college, and people who’ve been in a corporate environment for 20 to 30 years.

The people in the corporate environment for 20 to 30 years have a network and understand how to work in a corporate environment. They’re struggling with how to do it with technology from home. It’s the opposite for those just entering the workforce that they do, sort of natives. However, they don’t have the relationships, the social capital, or now to work in a corporate environment. So we’re trying to solve for different things. That’s the first thing.

2. Change the mindset from “going offsite to going onsite”

The second is I think post virus or post-vaccine at least we’ll move and flip the idea of going to offsite meetings to onsite meetings and coming together physically and face to face will be around social intimacy and building bonds.

And that’s the time you come together. And that we learn to work, that you leave with a more asynchronous collaboration.

3. Leverage technology for more innovation

And lastly, adding technology is going to help us with, as it is already with things like AR and VR. So Shell, for example, we already have had great approaches to doing things like digital twins, where you’re using headsets to say, you know, you’re getting around the physical needs to be proximate to an asset. I think that’s going to become more and more relevant, but you still can’t beat at the end of the day. A little bit of face-to-face.

Dr. Marina Theodotou, Director of Learning Experiences NavalX- TEDxDAU Founder

So I can go next. I think definitely the coronavirus has been the accelerant for, in, for the use transformation. We’ve been thinking about transforming and really, really focusing on transformation over the last couple of years.

And actually,  there is a CLO article by Dr. Hartley, Chief Learning Officer magazine right now that that describes that whole transition and the journey.

But coronavirus has definitely served as the accelerant to virtual learning. In our case, we had to serve 183,000 members of the workforce, and we were able to transform learning within a few days from in-classroom. 80% of our learning was in- classroom prior to COVID to a hundred percent virtual. So with regards to the future, it’s going to be my prediction.

My personal prediction is that going to be a hybrid model where we leverage the abilities and capabilities that technology has given us, including Karin, you mentioned the lower cost and the faster time delivery and this ability to connect with thousands across geographies.  One of the biggest challenges was scale.

So scale cost and timing are three areas that coronavirus has definitely served as an accelerant and prompted us to find new solutions and new ways. And as we look, as we move forward, we are leveraging those three. We’re addressing those three and focusing on a hybrid model. But we’ll leverage what we learned and accentuate what we experienced by connecting in person, which is still viable.

Michelle Braden, Chief Learning Officer and VP of Talent Development, WEX Inc.

I would just add something really quick. I think the future is about innovation and the way we deliver learning. So new learning platforms, new ways. I think we haven’t looked at all the different solutions that are possible now that we’ve opened, people’s mind to this idea of not having to sit in a classroom and not having to be face to face all the time.

Question 2: How do you measure the ROI of Knowledge Transfer and Performance in a Leaders as Teachers Approach? – Kelly Harrison

Panel Response:

Michelle Braden

I think one of the things that we use, the “leaders as teachers” to help other employees learn, but really we’re developing the leaders. So it’s kind of a stealth sort of strategy.

And so, when you’re seeing these leaders getting promoted, when you’re seeing these leaders being performing at a higher level, getting more visibility, et cetera, you can tell that the program is working.

And at the same time, other people are learning from the leaders.

But in my view, who I’m really developing are the leaders.

Karin Hurt

Yeah. There’s nothing that makes you pay attention to the material than when you have to build it or teach it.

How has your CLO role changed to adapt to remote working/remote learning? – Tamar Elkeles

Tamar I’m going to go to this one. So I think, first of all, it’s not just remote learning. It’s the actual meeting employees where they are and what they’re going through. So various industries have been completely and utterly disrupted by this. And because of that, frankly, sometimes learning is not as high on the priority or there are curfews and kids are being homeschooled.

So I think you have to really consider the whole person and their consumability of learning. So you can talk about it being virtual learning.

But that sort of assumes that you’re taking a little bit of either a nugget or curriculum approach to things.

So, I think if you can move from a more systemic approach to learning in this instance where you don’t think about moving from face-to-face to virtual, but you actually think about it becoming more ingrained in the culture.

And you think about things like learner mindset. Because frankly, I can say, let’s say at Shell it’s been a  very disruptive year in terms of the impact on our industry growth. So just trying to work through things differently from home especially for a very relational company.

So not only are you facing new challenges, you’re also trying to do them in a different way as well.

So there’s no cost for that except for really to learn your way into it and have a little bit of humility, a little bit of vulnerability to try some stuff try it way, you know, this, there’s not big downside risk.

If you get it wrong, learn don’t make the same mistake twice. And so I think you just, you start to move to learn in a different way to be honest. And I think that will be time to get a little bit more formulaic and systemic about how we look at the, the, the processes and programs of learning. But for now I think it’s, it’s becoming more of a mindset.

Michelle Braden

So, I think the role has actually changed in that we are able to respond a lot quicker to the needs of the employees in the company and with the remote. It’s like we have to keep our finger on the pulse. So it’s, it’s not like you put a strategy together and then, you know, you have several months to do this and roll it out. No, it’s quick and you’ve got to get things going. And so we are constantly monitoring to see what we can do to help our leaders and our employees.

We put together some programs around leading through disruption, which was hugely popular. People were like, I needed this. And it starts off with taking care of yourself before you can take care of anyone else and that gets to the stuff that you’re talking about.

Question 3: What makes content stick? – Eileen McDargh, CSP, CPAE

Panel Response:

Dr. Marina Theodotou

Relevance, it’s timeliness and it’s whether it’s actionable. So what we’re seeing in our context within the DOD at the ITU is that content, that sticks is the one that’s a channel and available when the user needs, it went, the learner needs it on the job. That’s the content that is mostly consumed the most.

Michelle Braden

I would add to that. I would add to that also that the repetitiveness of it. So one of the things that we do is we use the same content in different ways. And so no matter how you’re getting at, you know, if you’re reading an article or watching a video or going to a class or doing, having a conversation or in a facilitated discussion where it all helps it stick, if you hear it more than once, and if you can talk about it more than once reflect on it more than once.  Michelle Braden (24:14):

Dr. Marina Theodotou

Yeah. That’s a great point. So we have the course and then we have a webcast around it. And then we have articles that talk about it. We have social media posts that touch on it. So that’s absolutely right. I agree with that.

Karin Hurt

That’s been absolutely integral to the work that we do too. So, it’s been interesting. You know, one of the leadership concepts we talk about is everything that’s important needs to be communicated five times, five different ways. As we design programs, make sure that we’re doing that too, you know, and for, in terms of reinforcement.

Award-Winning Learning Executives Share Insights on the Future of Learning and Development (Full Transcript)

Here we share the full unedited transcript of the future of learning and development conversation in the video above. Please keep in mind this is a direct translation so it’s conversational in nature and meant as a guide as you watch the video.

Intro Music (00:25):

Karin Hurt (00:28):

Karin Hurt and I’m here with our next edition of live asking for a Friend. And I could not be more delighted about these guests today. And we are going to be talking about what best in class learning organizations are doing. I have with us today, three folks, all of whom have won many awards for the learning programs that they’ve developed, and they are the contributors to a brand new book coming out called Forward, Focused Learning.

And so we’ll talk a little bit about some of the insights in their book and their experiences and a little bit about their predictions for the future. So first I’d like to, welcome Andrew Kilshaw

Oh, look, we already have some folks joining. I love it, Joey.

Great to see you again Brad. Terrific to have you at your first live event. Thank you all for being here.

So let’s bring on Andrew Kilshaw who leads a large global team at Shell Corporation.

Karin Hurt (01:31):

And so interestingly, he also has some award-winning programs and a fascinating approach of some work he did at Nike. So we’ll be talking about that as well. Oh, it’s so good to see so many people joining in and some for the very first time. Terrific. And then we also have Dr. Marina Theodotou.  She is the director of learning at the Navy and so has a vast level of experience there.

And then Michelle Braden who leads a global team at WEX. So thank you so much for coming and joining us today. So as people are gathering and we start just really quickly, I’m just so curious, what caused you all to come together to write this book?

So, Michelle, maybe you start just share a little bit, why?

Michelle Braden

So this book was really sponsored by an ATD and we wanted to share thoughts and ideas and things that we’ve done from real experience had real results with the broader learning and development industry.

So we’ve all been asked to share some of the tips that we did, some of the things that we did in our past or some of the strategies we’re using today.

Karin Hurt

Perfect. I’m really, I love the book. Really good insights made me really think about what’s coming next and how, how we need to be thinking about learning. So how about how about you Marina? Why, this book?

Marina Theodotou (03:02):

Yeah, absolutely. So, building on to what Michelle said, we feel we all, as learning development leaders, we have responsibility to always look forward and I love the title of the book Forward Focused Learning.

So,what we did here is we came together and we share practical, actionable, best practices that anyone who reads the book should be able to apply, adopt and adapt into their organization or consider as possible solutions. So super excited to be here.

Karin Hurt (03:34):

Thank you so much. I’m all about practical. So I love it. And Andrew, what would you add?

Andrew Kilshaw (03:39):

Yeah. Hi from London, everybody across the pond. The thing I would add is interestingly, this book was we were asked to write it before the pandemic. So, it’s interesting to see how at this time how some of the theory sounds of the test of time, but in the learning space, my simple answer would be that you know, we don’t we try not to reinvent the wheel. There’s a lot, we can learn from each other, a lot of great work that’s done in this in this sphere. So it’s fantastic to learn the innovations that other people have done and frankly, steal those with pride is the quickest way to get something out. So I’m glad to give it a little bit back of what my teams have done in the past. Perfect.

Karin Hurt (04:16):

Okay. So as you’re joining, I would love for you to chat in any of the questions that you have for our panel. And we will make sure that we, we integrate those into the conversations, but I’ll start with a couple of my own question about learning and development.

So Andrew, I was really interested in your chapter where you were talking about when you’re thinking about learning, you need to think past just the, WHAT you are teaching, but how the interventions that you’re dealing with around the HOW it actually it have an impact on the culture and on what people are learning. And you shared some really interesting ways that you did this at Nike. I’d love just to hear a little bit more about that.

Andrew Kilshaw (04:53):

I’m very much, I approach things as a consumer and interestingly, when I went to work for Nike and United as a consumer, and then you see that the culture inside, and I think, you know, the more experience I get, the more I rely on my sense of purpose, proudly and culture. So for me, purpose is super important, which is the why. So, Simon Sinek talks about what we start with the why. I think that’s more and more important nowadays when everyone’s so busy and you’re fighting for share of mind. So, you’ve got to be very clear between “why” as a learning professional someone didn’t relate with the purpose of what you’re doing. So why should they work with you to learn something? What’s it help what’s it help in terms of the bigger picture or the purpose of that person’s trying to achieve?

Andrew Kilshaw (05:40):

One of the divisions at Nike comes together around making sport a daily habit. So we definitely connected the work we were doing to our bigger sort of reason for existing. The second thing is around brand. So, the personality of the, of the product and your brand, if it’s different, if you’re learning brand is different to your company’s brand, there’s going to be dissonance there. So you need to talk in the same language and have to adapt the same learning personality as your company’s personality. So, for example, right now it’s new year I’m using Noon, which many of you will know and that their personality is very much about the new the science of learning, how to change and build healthy habits. You have three to go 10 minutes a day in terms of micro learning and learning the flow of health, which is fantastic.

Andrew Kilshaw (06:47):

Then lastly on culture is how we do things around here. So I came from BlackRock before, which was a very, it was, it was a very intellectual smart and, you know, lots of PhDs and econometrics. And then you moved from that to a company whose tagline is just do it. So one place was very sort of Socratic, intellectual learning. The other was just giving me the concept for two minutes and let me go play with it and break things, which is just, just do it learning. So that’s what I mean about adapting to the culture.

Karin Hurt (07:18):

Ah, very good. And I loved how you said, you know, Nike, you, and in most places that would be Nike University, but you actually did the “U”  stand for?

Andrew Kilshaw (07:29):

Aspirational statements like unleashing your potential unlimited possibilities of things, things like that, because again, just do it. Isn’t really very academic. It’s not very university and sort of the thousand year, 10 year old, Oxford, Cambridge, it’s more about learning by doing

Karin Hurt (07:51):

All right. Good. So, I’m going to take some of these questions after we get through some of the initial topics here, but I’m going to ask, I’m going to ask David Dye to answer Joey’s question about what is Noon and why don’t you link back about why you think that their methodology is so good from a learning system, because I know you’ve been studying it, we’re thinking about integrating some of their concepts into our micro learning. So, David, I’m going to give that one to you.

Okay. So Marina, I would love to hear from you and particularly your chapter was talking about building an ecosystem and you have five different building blocks that you discussed there. And I’d love to hear a little bit about that, and then particularly given what we’re dealing with right now, which of those building blocks do you think is so critical for us to be considering in the future?

Marina Theodotou (08:41):

Great question. Thanks so much, Karin, for again, the visitation here. So in my chapter, I discussed the five building blocks of a learning ecosystem. And by ecosystem, what I mean is the environment where people connect with people and content and learn and experience learning and create new learning, and also surround themselves with all these different technologies and data and content within, the guard rails of the governance that the organization provides. So we have learning ecosystems that are wide open let’s just exactly what we’re doing here. Linkedin, pretty open, think about all we’re learning and doing, and absorbing through LinkedIn, and also think about the learning ecosystem within your own organization, which is directed by the mission and the strategy of the organization. So the five building blocks are not unknown. There’s the people, the content, the data, the technology, and the governance.

Marina Theodotou (09:50):

So the way we build those, and actually ecosystems typically grow organically, but an organization or learning and development organization is responsible to foster that and allow the growth and provide opportunities for the learners to grow. So when we talk about people, we talk about primarily the employees of the organization, but we also talk about the customers because the more our employees learn and are happy within the organization and they’re growing the research shows that the better the performance and the happier the customers. So there is that direct relationship that ties the importance of a learning ecosystem to the organizational performance. So today you asked which one of these elements is probably the most critical. And I would have to say content because with COVID being the accelerant, we are all aligned. We have no other way of meeting, we’re all aligned. And so we’re all inundated with all this content that is coming at us and we have to be able to discern which one is the most valuable one, and which one is not so valuable at the particular moment, so that we can make sound decisions because we all have limited time. And so I would say content is critical because that’s, what’s going to keep the learners engaged and that’s, what’s going to keep organizations on their toes to provide content that’s relevant and timely and meaningful for the mission.

Karin Hurt (11:36):

Very nice. Thank you, Michelle or Andrew, which are the pillars, do you think is most critical right now?

Andrew Kilshaw (11:44):

I think so. I think the last, the content piece, for sure. But what’s interesting is, you know, if you go back sort of seven, eight years, when you got Yelp open table glass store where you started to get these websites where everybody gets to rate everything curious, what sort of feedback loops do you use and whether you make that public you know, 10, 15 years ago, we used to do the sheets at the end of the classroom to say how good it was. And now, you know, that that’s useless and irrelevant, I think personally because everyone’s talking about it. So I just wonder if you can capture the social feedback to see what the most engaging and sticky content is that way as you think about that content stickiness.

Marina Theodotou (12:37) That’s a great point. I think that technology enables the user to actually read the content. So again, content is at the center, but it’s at the, at the review and evaluation of every user. So, but it’d better be good content. Otherwise the users are going to down vote it and you’re not going to see it again.

Karin Hurt (12:49):

Yeah, Andrew, it’s interesting because we use something, we call our, let’s go leaders, learning lab, which is micro learning. That’s, that’s happening throughout a space learning over time program. So in addition to the live work, and that has been so helpful to make adjustments along the way, you know, what tools are you using? What challenges are you having so that when they come into their next session, it’s a real time adjustment. You don’t have to wait till the end to go, Oh, shoot, they needed more of this or that.

Michelle Braden

We use it. We use a platform called degreed that really aggregates content. And so what I’ve found in the last few years of using this is that rather than developing content, we’re curating content. And if we curate content using a design thinking methodology, to identify you know, the areas that we really need to have a pathway or some thought leadership, and then we can hit the mark a lot better.

Karin Hurt (13:42):

Plus we get feedback from the tool as well. So it’s good all the way around. Very nice. So Michelle, as I go over to you, Marina, I’m going to give you a chat question. So Yohann asked, he’s got four of your five pillars of the ecosystem chatted with the fifth one is for him, there would be good.

Michelle your chapter. It was really talking about high ROI training. And how do you do training if you have a limited budget and it’s not necessarily the size of the budget that we’ll have the biggest impact. And one particular concept you talk about is “leaders as teachers”.

And I know that you and I had some experience together with some of the work that we did together at Telus. And I, I love this concept. Can you tell us what you mean by leaders of teachers and give us a couple of examples of how this has worked particularly well and how it integrates with the more formal programs that you’re doing.

Michelle Braden (14:48)

I think some people, when they hear the term leaders, as teachers, they’re thinking, Oh, you’re going to have a leader come in and teach a class. And that’s really not. It it’s really, we use a lot of different methodologies, a lot of different solutions at Telus.

We use something called “Leaders Unscripted,” and we did interviews with the different leaders and there were 35,000 employees worldwide. And so how do we get leaders in front of those employees? So, we asked them about hints and tips for leadership. What would they tell people if they had a group sitting in front of them, what’s the biggest mistake they made, how did they overcome? What was their  favorite book, you know, all these different things. So we did these interviews, we created a series of videos and we combined whiteboard animation with the live video. And so, it made it a lot more interesting and they were hugely popular.

Another strategy we used was something we called “In session”, which was really like a mini Ted talk, or maybe expanded TED talk, but we would have leaders talk about some topic that they were passionate about.

I mean, it could be anything, it could be work-related personal-related whatever they did, one like on finding your mojo or keys to success or whatever. And then we would, we would work with them to get them ready to deliver this. They would deliver it and we’d record it, put it on the LMS. And those again were hugely popular. And one thing that we’ve found is that the leaders were learning probably as much as the learners when they were doing these sessions. And now with the formal programs we’re doing, we’re doing facilitated conversations where we invite leaders in to talk about certain topics and it’s like an hour long conversation. So it doesn’t take a lot of time and it takes $0, zero.

Marina Theodotou (16:33):

I love that. If I could interject about the Defense Acquisition University. I’m on rotation to Naval X, the department of the Navy. But my home is the Defense Acquisition University and we did TEDx DAU here. We did one in 2019 and 2020 with 12 speakers each. So totally agree with what Michelle mentioned. Those Ted talks were so powerful. It was an internal event. And we had over 60,000 views in the first year. And for the second year we went all virtual. We had 5,600 registrants and over 3000 people actually participated the day of the event. So very, very powerful. So I love that you mentioned that it’s a great way to bring people together. And the way we selected the speakers, we went all across the DOD and the national security environment ecosystem. And we were very deliberate about the diversity of the speakers across age, rank service gender geography, and that really attracted the thousands of learners across the year.

Michelle Braden (17:45):

Yeah, we did it on a volunteer basis, but what happened was, it was interesting because at the beginning it was hard to get anyone to volunteer, but once they started being pushed out and people started watching them, they realized they were getting a lot of visibility from it. So they were, it was almost like a spotlight, you know, for the person who was doing it. So it became kind of like a badge, if you did one of those. Yes. You’re in,

Marina Theodotou (18:10):

Well, I love that. Ours was a formal learning experience. We had a TEDx licensed event that I had the honor of leading. So it was a great, great engagement.

Michelle Braden (18:25):

I think the trick on doing those is (and I did the chapter on do more with less) But the trick on doing those is, you know, doing things with less, but not making it look like you did. So it’s being scrappy, you know, it’s like, you’re on a beer budget, but you’re really serving champagne. So, you know, it’s, it’s that kind of analogy. And I think that’s really, really key to the work that we do.

Karin Hurt (18:51):

Very nice. So Kelly Harrison is asking,

“How do you measure the success of knowledge transfer and performance  do either any of you that are doing leaders as teachers have a way that you do that, because that might be a little more difficult to measure, but so do you have a way that, you know, whether it’s working?

Michelle Braden (19:10):

Well, you know, I’m going to address this first? I think one of the things that we use, the leaders as teachers to help other employees learn, but really we’re developing the leaders. So it’s kind of a stealth sort of strategy. And so when you’re seeing these leaders getting promoted, when you’re seeing these leaders being performing at a higher level, getting more visibility, et cetera, you can tell that the program is working. And at the same time other people are learning from the leaders. But in my view, who I’m really developing are the leaders.

Karin Hurt (19:50):

Yeah. There’s nothing that makes you pay attention to the material and whether you have to build it or teach something a concept than to have to know, you’re having to teach that next. Right. And so I

Speaker 3 (20:01):

Totally agree with you. Yeah. They act like forced monthly flyers. Essentially. We follow the same model with Naval likes. We’ve been able to X learning ecosystem and Karin, I didn’t want to respond to your hand. Those are the five building blocks to learn more. They’re in chapter four in the book,

Karin Hurt (20:23):

Yeah. Yohann is coming to us from Jamaica. We had an opportunity to do a leadership development program back when we could travel over there. Okay. Jared, can you pop us a couple of questions from the audience here? Cause I know they’ve had some great ones coming in.

Karin Hurt (20:42):

How has your CLO role changed to adapt to a remote or remote Learning environment? Fantastic question Tamar.

Andrew Kilshaw (20:52):

As a good one, Tamar I’m going to go to this one. So I think first of all, it’s not just the remote learning. It’s the actual meeting employees where they are and what they’re going through. So various industries have been completely and utterly disrupted by this. And because of that, frankly, sometimes learning is not as high on the priority or there are curfews and kids are being homeschooled.

So I think you have to really consider the whole person and their consumability of learning. So you can talk about it being virtual learning. But that sort of assumes that you’re taking a little bit of a either nugget or curriculum approach to things. So I think if you can move from a more systemic approach to learning in this instance where you don’t think about moving from face-to-face to virtual, but you actually think about it becoming more ingrained in the culture.

And you think about things like learner mindset. Because frankly I can say, let’s say at Shell it’s been a  very disruptive year in terms of the impact on our industry growth. So just trying to work through things differently from home especially for a very relational company. So not only are you facing new challenges, you’re also trying to do them in a different way as well. So there’s no cost for that except for really to learn your way into it and have a little bit of humility, a little bit of vulnerability to try some stuff try it way, you know, this, there’s not big downside risk.

If you get it wrong, learn don’t make the same mistake twice. And so I think you just, you start to move to learn in a different way to be honest. And I think that will be time to get a little bit more formulaic and systemic about how we look at the, the, the processes and programs of learning. But for now I think it’s, it’s becoming more of a mindset.

Michelle Braden (22:39):

So, I think the role has actually changed in that we are able to respond a lot quicker to the needs of the employees in the company and with the remote. It’s like we have to keep our finger on the pulse. So it’s, it’s not like you put a strategy together and then, you know, you have several months to do this and roll it out. No, it’s quick and you’ve got to get things going. And so we are constantly monitoring to see what we can do to help our leaders and our employees.

We put together some programs around leading through disruption, which was hugely popular. People were like, I needed this. And it starts off with taking care of yourself before you can take care of anyone else and that gets to the stuff that you’re talking about.

Karin Hurt.

So Eileen, McDargh is also a friend of mine and she’s a keynote speaker and all about resiliency. So she’s asking what makes content stick. ?

Marina Theodotou (23:46):

Relevance, it’s timeliness and it’s whether it’s actionable. So what we’re seeing in our context within the DOD at the ITU is that content, that sticks is the one that’s a channel and available when the user needs, it went, the learner needs it on the job. That’s the content that is mostly consumed the most.

Michelle Braden (24:14):

I would add to that. I would add to that also that the repetitiveness of it. So one of the things that we do is we use the same content in different ways. And so no matter how you’re getting at, you know, if you’re reading an article or watching a video or going to a class or doing, having a conversation or in a facilitated discussion where it all helps it stick, if you hear it more than once, and if you can talk about it more than once reflect on it more than once.

Marina Theodotou (24:45):

Yeah. That’s a great point. So we have the course and then we have a webcast around it. And then we have articles that talk about it. We have social media posts that touch on it. So that’s absolutely right. I agree with that. Michelle

Karin Hurt (25:00):

That’s been absolutely integral to the work that we do too. So it’s been interesting. You know, one of the leadership concepts we talk about is everything that’s important needs to be communicated five times, five different ways. As we design programs, make sure that we’re doing that too, you know, and for, in terms of reinforcement.

Okay, fantastic. Catalysts for virtual or future contributed to desire for in-person learning and ecosystem. This is a really important question here. You know, are we going back it’s on everyone’s minds because I think, you know, some of what we see is there are things that we can do that are actually better with remote learning.

It’s the spaced learning over time, the international cohorts of people going through together has become easier. Not the cost of the travel, right? I know a lot of our clients have saved huge amounts of travel budget for their learning programs, but we’re also still, I know I want to get back in a classroom. What do you think this is a perfect one to end with here? So what do you think?

Andrew Kilshaw (26:02):

I have a quick track of that one. I’ve got three, three things super quickly. The first is at the moment we’ve got two different groups in the workforce who are having challenges. We’ve got people who are brand new into the workforce, out of college and people who’ve been in a corporate environment for 20 to 30 years.

The people in the corporate environment for 20 to 30 years have a network and understand how to work in a corporate environment. They’re struggling how to do it with technology from home. It’s the opposite for the those just entering the workforce that they do, sort of natives. However, they don’t have the relationships, the social capital or now to work in a corporate environment. So we’re trying to solve for different things. That’s the first thing. The second is I think post virus or post vaccine at least we’ll move and flip the idea of going to offsite meetings to onsite meetings and coming together physically and face to face will be around social intimacy and building bonds.

And that’s the time you come together and that we learn to work– that you leave with a more asynchronous collaboration. And lastly, adding technology is going to help us with, as it is already with things like AR and VR. So Shell, for example, we already have had great approaches to doing things like digital twins, where you’re using headsets to say, you know, you’re getting around the physical needs to be proximate to an asset. I think that’s going to become more and more relevant, but you still can’t beat at the end of the day. A little bit of face-to-face.

Karin Hurt (27:21):

Very good. Thank you so much, Andrew. I’d love everyone to answer this question because I think this is a, what is your prediction for the future? Where are we headed?

Marina Theodotou (27:29):

So I can go next. I think definitely the coronavirus has been the accelerant for, in, for the use transformation. We’ve been thinking about transforming and really, really focusing on transformation over the last couple of years.

And actually there is a CLO article by Dr. Hartley, Chief Learning Officer magazine right now that that describes that whole transition and the journey. But coronavirus has definitely served as the accelerant to virtual learning. In our case, we had to serve 183,000 members of the workforce, and we were able to transform learning within a few days from in classroom. 80% of our learning was in classroom prior to COVID to a hundred percent virtual. So with regards to the future, it’s going to be my prediction.

My personal prediction is that going to be a hybrid model where we leverage the abilities and capabilities that technology has given us, including Karin, you mentioned the lower cost and the faster time delivery and this ability to connect with thousands across geographies. Would you scale one of the biggest challenges was scale.

So scale cost and timing are three areas that coronavirus has definitely served as an accelerant and prompted us to find new solutions and new ways. And as we look, as we move forward, we are leveraging those three. We’re addressing those three and focusing on hybrid model. But we’ll leverage what we learned and accentuate what we experienced by connecting in person, which is still viable because

Karin Hurt (29:42):

We have, we’re losing so much body language and energy from just the virtual. But thank you. Thanks Michelle. Anything to add?

Michelle Braden (29:52)

I would just add something really quick. I think the future is about innovation and the way we deliver learning. So new learning platforms, new ways. I think we haven’t looked at all the different solutions that are possible now that we’ve opened, people’s mind to this idea of not having to sit in a classroom and not having to be face to face all the time.

I think now we have an opportunity to exploit that. Very nice.

Karin Hurt

Thank you. I want to just thank all of you these authors of Forward Focused Learning. I highly recommend this. If you are a learning professional, if you are involved in strategy, this is a great book for you to pick up and it’s chapter by chapter.

Karin Hurt (30:33):

So it’s nice as Michelle was saying to us, appreciate it. It’s a nice book that you can read with your learning professional team and have a bit of a book group around it. So I know that we did not get to all the questions today. And so here’s what I would say is let’s keep this, this information going in the chat. If there’s an article that you think would be helpful to our listeners that you want to include I’ll put a link to where people can get the book. And if you want to answer any of these questions in the chat, or if anybody wants to answer one another’s questions, it doesn’t need to just be the folks on the call. Let’s have this important conversation.

Let’s keep the dialogue going. Thank you so very much for being asking for a friend.

Your turn: What would you add?

What are some of your learning and development best practices?

What are you most optimistic about when it comes to the future of learning and development?

What were your biggest learning and development takeaways from this interview?

Avoid these infuriating phrases in end-of-year feedback

Avoid These Infuriating Phrases in End-of-Year Feedback

For most managers, the only thing they dread more than going to their own end-of-year performance appraisal is holding end-of-year feedback discussions with their team. Why?

Because the performance appraisal system is unnatural by design. Imagine if we burdened our home relationships with some of the same formal systems we impose at work.

“Honey, I’ve decided to give you an end-of-year appraisal. Your cooking has improved and you’re taking out the trash without being reminded, you get an “Exceeds Expectations” in domestic duties. “But you’ve been so stressed lately, and it’s been months since you brought me flowers, I have to give romance a B-.”

And if your company is using a stack ranking system, made worse with forced ratings quotas,  it’s even more tricky.

I’ll save the rant about these old school systems for another day since chances are you’re already neck-deep in preparing for these required conversations. Instead, I’ve collected a list of the most infuriating phrases many employees have told me have ticked them off (or made them quit).

6 Infuriating End-Of-Year Feedback Phrases That Crush Morale

1. “I don’t have much feedback for you. You know you’re doing great.”

Why it’s infuriating: You know who hears this? The people that have been killing themselves going above and beyond expectations. Every single week I hear from high-performers who feel overlooked and are starving for recognition.

What to Do Instead: If they’re doing great, be sure to give specific feedback about what was so great and why it mattered. Also, care enough to offer specific ideas for how they can grow and do even better. See Also:  7 Things Your High-Performing Employees Long to Hear You Say.

2. “I rated you a meets expectations. Your performance really was an “exceeds” but I had to make the math work out.” Or, even worse, “I could only have one in that category.”

Why it’s infuriating: Basically this is saying, I’m rating you lower than you deserve. And nothing is more infuriating than injustice.

What to Do Instead: It’s always best to stay focused on results and behaviors, rather than the rating. But if an employee is frustrated, they may be so distracted by the rating it’s difficult for them to think about anything else. Be clear about the criteria that you used to calibrate performance and where they met and exceeded that criteria and opportunities to improve in the future. Stay away from comparisons to other employees, or blaming other people for the rating they received.

3. “I know we haven’t had a chance to talk about this before, but _____”

Why it’s infuriating: Nothing new should be surfacing in end-of-year feedback. And yet so frequently employees tell us they were completely blindsided by observations of behaviors from earlier in the year. It’s frustrating because it feels like a gotcha game instead of constructive feedback that they could have acted on if they had heard about it sooner.

What to Do Instead: Never bring up new feedback in a performance review. Be proactive in sharing observations as close to when it occurred as possible.

4. “Well, I don’t really have any specific examples, but it’s become a real issue.”

Why it’s infuriating: Feedback without specifics feels unfounded; not to mention generalized feedback with no examples would never hold up if they challenged you in a formal way (e.g. lawsuit).

What to Do Instead: Be sure you can offer specific examples of the behavior for any feedback you are giving

5. “I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from other people about your performance in this arena. Who?  I’m not at liberty to say. Have I noticed it, well, no but everybody is telling me about it.”

Why it’s infuriating: You lose credibility and trust by acting on feedback you’ve heard thirdhand—you’re essentially saying, “I trust them and doubt you.” Ouch.

What to Do Instead: Find a way to observe the issue yourself. Or encourage the person with the feedback to offer it directly.

6. “Just write up your accomplishments and I’ll sign it.”

Why it’s infuriating: Why bother? “You want me to do YOUR job?

What to Do Instead: Have them submit their accomplishments, and then invest the time to share your observations and a well-thought-through commentary. Make the effort to ensure they feel seen and understood.

Done well end-of-year feedback conversations can go a long way in building trust, aligning expectations with results, and laying the foundation for a great start to the new year. If you show up with confident-humility, focused on both results and relationships.

Other Helpful Tools For Your End-Of-Year Feedback Sessions

MIT Huddle Planner (a tool to use weekly to make your end of year sessions smooth sailing)

How to Prepare for a Better Development Discussion

Creative Ways to Develop Your Managers

Feedback: Getting Great Insights From People Who Matter

As leaders, getting enough feedback on your leadership can sometimes be a challenge. Of course, it’s important to know what your boss thinks. What is equally important are the broader impressions your leadership is making up down and sideways. Today I share some formal and informal tools to get the conversation started.

Who Are You Asking for Feedback?

One of the most frequent questions folks ask me when starting a new mentoring relationship is, “what impressions do you have of me?”

In other words,

“What’s my brand?”

“What have you heard about me?”

“What have you observed?”

“How do you talk about me to others?”

Great questions. I believe in transparency and I always shoot straight. But the truth is, what I think may matter, but I am just one opinion.

After I answer their question, I ask a few of my own

  • Who else have you asked?
  • What are your peers saying?
  • What would your team say?
  • If you took a new job, what would the folks working for you today be texting to the new team?

The answer is frequently, “um…I haven’t really done much asking.”

The answers to “why not” vary

  • I hadn’t thought about it
  • I’ve been so busy
  •  I didn’t want to bother everyone
  •  … ?

Or if they are really honest.

  • I am scared of what I might hear
  • Then I might have to do something about it
  • …?

The thing is, people are talking about your strengths and opportunities in all kinds of contexts. Why not find out what they are saying?

Some Feedback Tools

There are many formal and informal ways of soliciting feedback. Using a deliberate approach to getting feedback is particularly valuable in helping to identify blind spots. It can also help you sort through the tricky landscape of overused strengths becoming weaknesses.

360 Feedback Tools

360 degree feedback tools can be invaluable for getting a comprehensive view. These tools enable your boss, your peers and your team to all rate you on various leadership dimensions and competencies. I find these tools work best when people take the time to offer comments and examples. I also highly recommend working with a coach to help you digest and take action on the feedback.

I have also seen many great examples of people doing this in a more informal way. Setting up time to get feedback from others, or using informal questionnaires to get feedback.

Informal Approaches

Even without formal tools, there are easy ways to open up the feedback conversation.

A simple, free online tool based on the Johari window, enables you to compare your perceived strengths to others you invite for feedback, click on this Johari Interactive tool to complete the assessment.

One reader, Sarah Parrish, recently sent me the questions she was using in her informal 360 poll. She has found the process and feedback valuable and so I share her questions.

· What are 3 words that you think of when thinking of my strengths?
· What are 3 words that you think of when thinking of my areas of improvement?
· Have you been able to benefit from working with me in the past? If so, how?
· Where could I have improved in our past interactions to help make your job easier?
· What makes me stand out from others either personally or professionally?
· What could I do differently to come off as more approachable?

I have also used a group approach with teams I lead. I have them work together on a list of feedback on what I am doing that is helpful, what they need more of, what they need less of, and how I am getting in their way. Then I come back in the room and we work together on solutions. This one can be risky and the team and relationships need to be in a mature place, but each time I have done it I have learned so much.

Asking questions about your leadership can be a fantastic way to grow. It’s vital that you are open and ready to receive it.

Please comment and share:

What ways do you collect feedback to improve your leadership?