The 5 secrets to successful meetings

Here are Krys’s 5 Secrets of Accelerated Learning

Many of you may have already come across the “5 secrets of Accelerated Learning”, which we have expanded upon and discussed at length. But do you know the 5 secrets to successful meetings?

This may look like cheating or a little bit cheeky, but actually these 5 secrets of accelerated learning* are equally applicable to running great meetings. Let’s just double check that shall we?

*I shall be swapping the word “Learner” to “Participant”

 

Now here are the 5 Secrets to Successful Meetings – can you spot the differences?

 

  • Business focussed and participant centred – If the meeting is about what the business needs, as well as what the participants are interested in then surely this will engage the participants? In order for you to know what the business needs and the participants are interested in, you will need to understand what the business is currently focussed on and what is challenging the participants (speak to them all?)
  • Be a facilitator – Make the meeting flow and make it interactive. Facilitate means to “make easy”, so think of all the ways you can make it easy for the participants to engage. Make it inclusive and led my the participants instead of driven by you.
  • The participants come in all shapes and sizes so ensure there is variety in terms of pitch, pace and tone as well as activities. Think of all the different things you can include in a meeting: brainstorm, discussion, presentation, group activity, search and discovery. There are lots and lots of different ways to liven up meetings!
  • The environment – make it conducive to openness and honesty. Think about the physical environment – is it stimulating but not distracting? Which room layout will work best? Create a social environment where it is easy for people to feel part of the group and included. Get them interacting and collaborating (this may be affected by the room layout). Also think about the emotional environment – how are you going to make people feel safe and brave enough to make suggestions, especially if they break the mould?
  • The brain – understand how the brain works so that you can maximise the efforts and avoid people getting bored or distracted. A simple thing to do is to change pace, pitch or tone every 20 minutes. Nothing drastic, but maybe get them reflecting following a discussion or an activity.

There are  lots more things I could say about these 5 secrets but this is a good starting point and hopefully useful!

As Good As It Gets …….

One of my favourite films is the 1998 film starring Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt and Greg Kinnear.  It’s a charming story about a grumpy man who falls in love and reluctantly changes to endear himself to his new love. The title was what initially drew me to the film, it sounded somewhat pessimistic but I thought it might be a good comedy, with an angle (especially with Jack Nicholson headlining!) This, as you can see is also the title of this blog, so will it be pessimistic? I hope it’s going to be the opposite, let’s see…..

I started writing this on holiday. For the first time ever, I have taken a months holiday with hubby and we have been traveling New Zealand, somewhere I have always wanted to visit. Our eldest son Alex, is on a working visa for a year and we thought it too rude not to visit, so here we are. The trip has been planned for months and I have dreamt about seeing the sights and visiting this magical place.

It’s no mean feat to carve out a month when you run a growing consultancy. Team prepped to step in and up, ailing parents warned “no shenanigans” and youngest son, not accompanying us, as he is on a work placement, told to “take care” …. Nothing was going to spoil the holiday of a lifetime!

After a days travel we landed in Perth and spent 4 days with family, before being reunited with our eldest. It had been 9 months since we last saw him, so the reunion was emotional and welcome.

Just hours after our reunion, we rushed Alex via ambulance to the nearest emergency department, where they treated him for anaphylaxis. His 4th to date and a mystery as to the cause. The next week, we had two more visits to hospital as the symptoms ebbed and flowed. It left us all feeling quite anxious and stressed.

Reassuring words from a doctor in Auckland encouraged us not to change our travel plans and so the holiday took on an upward beat. Fabulous views and amazing experiences put us back on track for this perfect holiday.

Then a phone call from my dad, distressed that he was stuck in Rochdale town centre with no money, threw us off track again. The truth was he was in respite care, as an infection had caused his dementia to descend into a spiral of confusion. Phone calls to my mum and brother, broadened the picture and what had been happening. Life does not stop happening while you are on holiday! The shine started to rub off the holiday of a lifetime…..

So why am I sharing this with you? To say “Woe is me?” – not at all. What I learned from this is applicable to everyone who works and has a private life that sometimes overshadows what they do for a living.

We sometimes have a picture of the perfect weekend, holiday, life, relationship and when things don’t go according to plan it takes the wind out of our sails and somehow the experience is diminished. What I felt was disappointment, that I could not even have a month off without demands on my time or support. What I then decided was that if this is “as good as it gets” I would squeeze every drop of enjoyment from it, so that on my return I am as ready and rested to get back to real life. I would selfishly pursue each magical experience to recharge my batteries, for the battering life gives us all.

So it wasn’t perfect, life never is. There were many magical moments, lots of recharging…. Now I am ready to get back to life, because if this is as good as it gets, you need to find all that magic to keep you going!

Just in case you were starting to feeling the slightest bit sorry for me, let’s put an end to that and insert a couple of gratuitously gorgeous holiday snaps! #loveNZ

 

 

 

ROI – how do we create a fresh approach to evaluating learning?

This question was raised in the Creativity Zone at Learning Live 2017 by a number of people. From observation, I have noted that a great many L&D professionals and teams find evaluation tricky. From Towards Maturity report “Driving the New Learning Organisation”, the “Top Deck” are twice as likely to identify metrics they want to improve through learning. That sounds so simple and yet there are many organisations not doing this. This may be for a number of reasons:

 

  • Lack of clarity about who to talk to about the important metrics
  • Lack of knowledge in how this data could be captured
  • Lack of confidence in an approach that might work

Our Learning Loop Approach gets people thinking about the end before they rush into a solution. Care is taken to engage with stakeholders. Objectives are set rather than woolly aims. Performance objectives are used to drive better performance. Learning objectives are leveraged to help improve performance and a culture of social and self-reliant learning is encouraged.

So what might we advise you to do to start a fresh approach to ROI:

  • Identify your key stakeholders
  • Spend most time with the “evangelists”, asking them what performance improvements they need and how these could be achieved through learning
  • Ask them which metrics will help THEM know the desired outcomes have been achieved
  • Get THEM to measure these outcomes instead of you in L&D sweating about how to get hold of the right numbers
  • Look at the MANY different ways that you can measure if learning has been effective as part of a larger evaluation strategy (see below for MANY different ways to evaluate)

Go on take a fresh approach and become a new type of learning leader that will forge a new way into this century!

How do we get leadership and stakeholders to engage in learning?

 

This was a question asked from Kate Rolfvondenbaum (UKAS). In the Creativity Zone at Learning Live 2017.

Let’s face it, this is an issue that bothers many people in L&D. Our Learning Loop Approach gets everyone involved in learning and empowered to learn for themselves.

What might be some of the symptoms of poor support from leadership or other stakeholders:

  • Budgets unexpectedly cut
  • Resources pulled
  • Participants not released from their day-job to attend
  • Lack of follow up to imbed learning
  • No real measurement of the outcomes

If you have experienced any of these you know how it feels to have all that effort go unappreciated and lacking in real support, with the danger that the original impact forecast is diminished. So, what can you do about it? Here are a few of my thoughts:

  • Before any initiative begins identify the stakeholders that are going to be most helpful, the “evangelists”
  • Win over with the help of the “evangelists” those who are the “snipers”. In other words, those stakeholders that might scupper the whole initiative because they do not support you, but have influence in the organisation
  • Find out what changes in performance they REALLY need to see and ask how they will know if they have achieved their desired outcomes.
  • Get them involved in as many ways as possible – from introducing the initiative to supporting people an being a part of the “marketing“ campaign
  • Get them to engage with the line managers of those attending the initiative and stress the importance of the line manager follow up to imbed learning

Would love to hear your views of other things that would help.

 

 

We don’t do train-the–trainer (not in the traditional sense)

It’s not an intentional thing, more accidental, that we have called ourselves “Trainers of trainers”. It is something that people understand, but I feel now it is no longer appropriate due to:

The changing role of L&D and professionals
• The emerging “New Learning Organisation**” as defined by Jane Daly and Laura Overton from Towards Maturity
• We actually don’t just train trainers in how to train! (It is so much more!)

 

So what do we do? We help organisations, line managers, teams and individuals to:

Have a strategic outlook when considering how people will learn to improve performance
• Learn how to engage with stakeholders and leverage them when looking for support and resources
• Be curious and dig deeper to find out underlying issues to find out what is needed
• To choose a complimentary blend of opportunities to help people improve their performance (#100ways2learn)
• Use accelerated learning principles so that the learning is sticky
• Be agile and fast
• Use a facilitative approach when doing any learning interventions rather than traditional trainer-led methods
• Build a cohesive learning community that benefits the whole organisation
• Open up to new ways of doing things
• Be motivated and inspired enough to have a go

Our open and in-house workshops do much more than “train” in the skills and knowledge required to become a new learning leader, for the new learning organisation. Through unique and innovative practices we have seen teams:

  • Have a mind-set shift in their thinking about how they approach learning
  • Become more cohesive a team in their approach to improving performance
  • Be inspired to make a real and measurable difference to the organisation by helping people learn how to improve their performance

**To compliment the “New Learning Organisation” we have developed our first draft on the “New Learning Leader”:

The visual is above but the detail is below:

  1. Has clarity of purpose
    1. Business focused but also learner centred
    2. Strategically focused to deliver what the organisation needs
    3. Curious and analytical
    4. Able to engage stakeholders in order to leverage essential resources and achieve the ROI required
    5. In tune with what the organisation needs
  2. Helps create a holistic people experience
    1. Helps to nurture and encourage an environment where people are developed consistently and with heart
    2. Clearly defined and easy to apply models and frameworks
  3. Supports and nurtures a thriving ecosystem
    1. Knows how to encourage a learning culture
    2. Inspires a culture of feedback and healthy challenge
    3. Empowers people to learn for themselves
    4. In learning interventions inspires others to learn more and share
    5. Promotes accountability at all levels
  4. Agile, digitally enabled
    1. Digitally courageous, not scared to experiment
    2. Able to choose the appropriate method/media for the outcomes required
  5. Helps support continual engagement
    1. Provides appropriate learning support when it is needed
    2. Understands the way the brain works to help learning be engaging and focused
  6. Helps people make intelligent decisions
    1. Makes decisions informed by the organisations’ purpose
    2. Develops others capability in decision making by providing the appropriate tools
    3. Applies the latest neuroscience to help make wise decisions
  7. Emotionally Intelligent self-starter
    1. Has awareness of their own behaviours on others
    2. In touch with their own emotions
    3. Good networker
    4. Loves to learn

What have we missed or what could we add and to which category?

Imagine if …. #6

 

This is the approach that we take at How to Accelerate Learning. Many other people do too (without calling it that!). In this blog series we will be looking at each of the 6 parts of the Learning Loop approach. So imagine …. what if, YOU were to take this approach:

Number 6: Learning interventions are underpinned by accelerated learning principles

I have been using accelerated learning principles for quite a number of years now and probably even before I knew what it was.

Accelerated learning brings together many models and theories which are practical and give results. Elliot Masie saw an improvement of 300% in the retention of information, switching from traditional to accelerated learning principles. I worked with an L&D team in Atos and Debbie Meddins, the manager reported a cut of 30% in trainer prep time.

So imagine if, your trainers took less time to prepare and the learning was more sticky? What might that mean:

  • More time to develop relationships with stakeholders to keep your finger on the pulse of the organisation
  • More time to explore new learning methodologies and a wider variety (see my #100ways2learn if you are stuck)
  • More time to develop new skills and create more of a learning culture
  • Fewer refresher courses and more credibility in L&D
  • Performance improvements that are more sustainable and noticeable

Would you like to know more about this approach? Then you have some choices:

Mutual Exchange

I really enjoyed the debate on Twitter this morning in the #ldinsight chat (runs every Friday 8am-9am), though the question did spark quite a lot of strong reactions from people. That is not a bad thing is it? The question was:

“What business skills are we missing in L&D and what can we do about this?”

Lots of great points made and you can follow them up in this storify, but I wanted to home in on just something that popped into my head as I was exchanging thoughts with Andrew Jacobs. He said “Feels like the business has the skills and L&D could learn from it.”

But is this enough? What about us in L&D? Don’t we need to understand the organisation? How do we do that?
So the phrase “mutual exchange” popped into my head. That’s what we need to be doing! A bit of “I will show you mine if you show me yours” but without the playground context! Maybe the exchanges could go a little like this (and I am working out loud here #WOL so please spare me!):
  • We share what tools we have to use, the business see how they might apply
  • The business tells us what the key issues are, we share with them others experience learnt from conferences, research etc
  • The business tells us their plans, we look to the most creative and cost effective ways of getting there
  • We share all the different ways we can improve performance through learning, they tell us what needs improving

My first ever #WOL, so I would love to hear what you are thinking about this…..

Microlearning?

John Bersin in his article “The Growing Role of Microlearning”, published in the Chief Learning Officer (Oct 2016) says that:

“The way people want to learn today can be described in one word: fast”. 

So you might think that an advocate for accelerated learning would be excited by this, but we, at How to Accelerate Learning, do consider this with an air of caution……..

Accelerated learning helps to imbed learning better and deeper because of 5 key principles:

  • Business focussed and learner centred objectives
  • Using a facilitative approach rather than “training”
  • Using variety in design to engage the learners
  • Having an environment that is conducive to learning
  • Using what we know about the brain to maximise retention

Microlearning can be learning as short as 30-40 seconds, so forgive me for being a skeptic but can that work? My approach is always a pragmatic one and so as I write this I am also considering a challenge that I have been set, which could also serve as an experiment. On May 11th 2017, the Learning and Performance Institute launched a series of short videos created by me, Krystyna Gadd, Founder of How to Accelerate Learning.

The series is called “100 ways to Learn” and can be found in a number of ways:

  • YouTube – watching the first video will automatically run all the videos that have now been released
  • Twitter – search for the #100ways2Learn hashtag
  • LinkedIn – check out the Learning and Performance Institute for the daily release around midday (GMT) every day

Sharon Bowman in her book “Brain science to make training stick” sites one of her trumps to be “Shorter trumps longer” implying that a shorter bit of learning is better than something longer. So I would love to know what impact these 30-40 second videos have had on you?

Mining for Gold – making the most of your resources

Mining For Gold - 3A while back I shared how I had been inspired by a model for developing people called “Mining for Gold”. It was developed by Tom Comacho in North Carolina and used in a church setting. It is an amazingly simple, yet inspiring model that can be applied universally.

The approach is simple – rather than seeing what people cannot do or squeezing them in a role that does not quite fit, you look for the ‘gold’ in them. The gold is that sweet spot where the three circles intersect:

  • What they have a passion for
  • What they are gifted in
  • What has been successful in the past

Imagine if everyone you employed operated in that sweet spot. How transformational would it be for the individuals, their teams and the organisations they work for? Imagine if you operated in that sweet spot? How much drive and enthusiasm would you have and what results could you expect in your organisation?

So lets imagine you were using this approach to developing you and your staff, one draw back, you may notice, may be that there are tasks/roles for which you find it difficult to get the right person. So what do you do? You could leave the task or role unfilled until the right person comes along or you could contract out those services.

We, at How to Accelerate Learning have partnered with Optimus Learning Services, a company that could manage L&D services that you do not have the time or right people for. Read what Blake Henegan, Director of Optimus Learning Services has to say about what they do:

optimuslearning_logo_horizontalBlake Henegan

Helping L&D to add more value

Here at Optimus Learning Services, we believe in the power of L&D and providing managed learning services that help you drive your L&D strategy forward.

We listen to the same message from L&D professionals the world over; from multi-national companies to single site companies, the administration and management of L&D solutions prevents L&D from driving the real strategy forward.

Combining a real passion for people and learning our managed learning services are designed to set you free from this struggle; to reduce your time spent on L&D administration and help improve your working processes.

Our services are fully flexible, designed around your requirements to ensure you can demonstrate your true value to your organisation.

Flexible, clear support packages

Whether you need big thinking or ‘on the ground’ doing, are short for time or planning ahead; we have three L&D support packages to choose from:

Manage – our full managed learning service. Management of all learning activity, helping L&D teams to focus on L&D strategy and improve learning efficiency.

Support – helping companies with the sourcing & booking of external training, allowing you to service the learning needs of your organisation.

Consult – L&D consultancy and support, providing additional expertise and helping L&D departments transform organisational learning.

You’ll receive a unique service, delivering excellent customer service for your people, lowering the cost of your learning whilst never compromising on quality.

Free consultations available

Let’s have a chat about your L&D challenges. Are you looking to free yourself and your department from the shackles of learning administration and management? Focus more on learning governance than management?

For a free 30 minute consultation to discuss ways of increasing your L&D productivity please email Blake Henegan to arrange a time.

Alternatively, learn more about how we’ve helped L&D at http://www.optimuslearningservices.com/managed-learning-service-case-studies/

Standing amongst Giants – Ignite Lab at CIPD L&D Show

Ignite CIPD session - 34

Yesterday I had the honour and privilege to stand amongst giants in our industry. The place was Olympia, the CIPD L&D Show and it was the final session of the day – the IGNITE LAB. For those not familiar with this format, each person presents 20 slides in 5 minutes, with the slides automatically advancing every 15 seconds.

Having settled on a topic, “How to be Agile in L&D”, I created some hand drawn slides and I pretty much thought it was going to be a doddle. The nearer it got to the day and the more I practised, the more I realised how hard it was. Give me a day or half a day to facilitate some learning and that’s not a problem, but 5 minutes to just present! It felt very unnatural and forced and the nerves were starting to kick in.

As the line up for the IGNITE LAB was revealed, we engaged  in an exchange on Twitter where we shared similar feelings and the nerves were apparent.  Some suggested they were going to use prompt cards, which I had ‘discarded’ as an idea, but when Julie Dryborough assured me I could “distill” the essentials in this way (I was waffling quite a bit in my practice runs), it convinced me to to do the “practice, tweak, repeat” advice offered by Niall Gavin.

Having tweaked, distilled, honed and transferred my notes to prompt cards , I was set. It felt much more comfortable knowing I would have the right words to fit the 15 second maximum for each slide.

So here is how it the event unfolded for me (in order) for me:

Niall Gavin – opened beautifully, with a heart-felt (see what I did there?) story relating to redundancy. No cards just him some slides and a great story.

Sukhvinder Pabial – followed. Confident, articulate and ever the professional, spoke about marginal gains and how we in L&D could take the lead front eh British Cycling team to improve L&D’s performance.

Krystyna Gadd – once I was up there and looking into the whites of their eyes (there were so many lovely people that I knew there!) I couldn’t look at my prompt cards. The slides progressed and it all came flooding back to me. Note to self next time – ditch the cards and fly solo!

Andrew Jacobs – popped his IGNITE cherry and did a sterling job beginning with learning not being built on firm foundations

Marco Faccini – amazed us all that he had rewritten his presentation that afternoon, making it real and showing us the money!

Amanda Arrowsmith – was unfairly plagued by the PowerPoint gremlins and Julie Dryborough volunteered to advance them but not before “ghosting it”. My hat goes off to  Amanda who was neither shaken nor stirred by all that seemed to happen (or not) – a veteran deliverer presenting an engaging and memorable session!

Blake Henegan – rocked his first IGNITE, challenging us to be kinder to ourselves by reflecting and connecting more and thus reducing overwhelm

Julie Drybrough– wowed us on creating a thriving culture by lighting up the shadows and understanding our git self. Sounds like good advice!

Phil Wilcox – what an amazing ending to the session with a poem about “Who am I?”- you are officially awesome Phil, be you!!

What was lovely, was being amongst these L&D giants, sharing our vulnerabilities, cheering each other on and applauding the achievement of “just” speaking for 5 minutes though 20 slides… easy eh….. we did good!

And we are all available for future speaking engagements at a very modest fee…..lol

Storify of the tweetage care of Donna Hewitson

 

Subscribe to access FREE monthly activities

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share this

with your friends!