A more constructive way to look at induction.

Thinking About Learning

In my role of L&D, one of the things I’m always keen to ensure we’re getting right is how we help the business understand itself. Not just itself, but also the consequence of actions taken on the business, and how we might make better business decisions.  Yes, I’m talking about business acumen. The thing is when you try and break that down, it’s a really hard thing to create L&D initiatives around.

I’m going to do a short series on how we might develop this very important skill in organisations, and what we can do to support the business enabling decision making to be better. Gosh that last sentence had a lot of horrid business speak, but sometimes needs must.

I think the first step in handling this topic is to have a well developed set of opportunities for your new starters. They are the ones who are being recruited…

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Not all who wonder are lost

An aspect of organisational life that I have always found frustrating is the need to wrap everything up neatly into a process. To squeeze personal tragedy into a policy, to determine someone’s future potential by placing them in a grid, to recruit people by scoring systems and to describe relationships and emotions as “touchy feely”. A memorable request as a manager was when a new recruit asked in our first meeting “Please – can I have no objectives? Can we just work together on what’s important without a list?” We did that; I believe that my purpose as a manager is to serve my team, not blindly, but to be open to different approaches. Took me out of my comfort zone – but she only ever excelled. It changed how I did things.

I question why there is such a demand for evidence and proof that people who feel valued are likely to offer a richer contribution within the workplace. We don’t need proof that they are breathing, have beating hearts and the capacity for love, anger and compassion. If we enter our potential, there is no measure that can predict what they/we can achieve. We can’t map a set path because at each stage of a human’s growth and development some aspect of them that is unknown is revealed.

I’d been thinking too about what Doug Shaw wrote last week about strategic planning, and the conversation that ensued arguing for and against strategic planning. Is it mechanistic and unnecessary, or is it directional and relevant? Is it ultimately, however well it is undertaken, something that is self defeating?

I didn’t have answers for any of these questions as I could probably argue it both ways. Then – as I walked past the British Library on Friday evening, I saw they have large banners up with this line from Tolkien “not all who wonder are lost”. Got me to some more thinking.

At connectingHR conference Gareth Jones gave us “conversation is the new currency”. If we consider this, then we know are entering into uncertainty. A conversation cannot be measured, or predicted. It has to be experienced. It is an improvisation. It doesn’t mean that nothing can or will be achieved. Each person who attended connectingHR went away with ideas, friendships, stimulus, energy and hope for a different future. We had no plan, we created our own discussions, we made it happen ourselves. We will all bring renewed energy and vigour into our work, our conversations, our relationships. We will achieve more.

So this need for concrete certainty, measurement and structure – what is it doing to our creativity and humanity? Those who are wondering are seeing and experiencing more aren’t they? If they’re reading a map, they’ll just see what is on there. Conversation is the wonderer’s currency, experience is their measure and hope is their guide. Those who wonder are seeing other possibilities and opportunities and exploring them. Who knows what will happen. But not all who wonder are lost.

The elephant is a wardrobe

After months of thinking and wondering, pondering and floundering,  my experience at #ldcu last week propelled me to write my first blog and enter into the world of twitter.  I went through the back of the wardrobe and found a different place.

It’s been a week and I’m sort of reeling.   I’m overwhelmed by a  sensory overload of chatter, information, sharing, collaboration, ideas and opportunities.   I know it’ll begin to normalise, balance itself out and I’ll impose a discipline upon myself so that it’s not quite the  draw on my time that it has been these last few days.  I’m breathless trying to keep up with it all, compose my own thoughts and deal with the ideas and energy that has been stimulated in me.  Is it even real?

@kyliesquelch used Narnia as a metaphor at #ldcu and it just triggered something for me..   As I experience it, this expanded space is like Narnia – I have been transported to another dimension of human consciousness;  a more intense awakeness; a sense of bigger possibilities.   An adventure.

I know it’s not all light and love and sharing, I know darkness exists and lurks in the space beyond the back of the wardrobe.  I do however believe the energy and desire  to build trust and relationships through the social collaborative  space is the greater force.

As we come together with more open minds, the potential for learning, changing, growing, and doing is increasing, multiplying and shaping into a new consciousness.   Some think that it is an imaginary world, that nothing will change – but it’s already changed because the back of the wardrobe has opened up forever.  The two worlds are irrevocably opened to each other.

There’s no elephant in the room;  it’s a wardrobe – and it’s opened up for everyone.