Advice you'd give to someone starting in L&D?‬

I'm not used to being a "list" blogger...but this is following on from a #LDInsight chat a couple of Fridays ago (follow @LnDConnect on Twitter and #LDInsight on Twitter on Fridays, GMT 9am)
I was on broadcast mode that morning, Tweeting a bunch of stuff I would say to new (and existing) Learning and Development types.
I’ve been thinking about it and this is a slightly extended version.

‪1) Stay open to new ideas. Keep challenging your own thinking. Constantly. Others will need that from you‬… If you don’t want to continuously learn, you are in the wrong job.  Keep your thinking fresh & embrace your ability to be critically evaluative of what you hear.

2) Get a good dose of "in the room" experience under your belt. You learn more about yourself/others when working in a confined space with a bunch of semi-strangers than any textbook/course can‬ ever teach you.

3) You have good, bad and ugly in you – learn what they look like and make friends with them. You’re going to bump into each often if you work in with Groups & Teams.

4) Have trusted sensible folk to reflect with. Learn your craft through mistakes and have people around you to help you make sense of these.‬ Learning is part sense-making and it is helpful not to do this alone.

5) Uncomfortable is good. (Yes. Really.) Cheesy is bad.‬
Be authentic in what you offer, not superficial or gimmicky, even if that means it isn't cozy.‬

6) You are about to commence in one of best parts of being in an organisation. The opportunity to enable learning.‬ ‪On bad days? That's still cool.‬

7) Qualitative data counts. Numbers are useful, but in the end learning is more art than exact science.‬ Find your argument for this‬ & learn to use it wisely.

8) Learning solutions for systems are complex. Boxing complexity is thankless & possibly pointless. It's ok not to be too neat with your solutions and ideas. But be a little neat‬

9) Get used to talking to techies & experts. If you don't understand what you are being told, say so. Always. If your intuition says: "Huh?" that's valid.‬
Sometimes? The Emperor really is butt naked.

10 ) Get know yourself well & deeply. The hours you put in understanding your own impact and responses is time well spent. Work and life are so much easier when you aren't afraid of being found out.

What would your advice be?

Julie Drybrough @fuchsia_blue

Working with people & orgs to improve conversations, relationships & learning. Doing stuff with love

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  • For someone who has just jumped into L&D I've found not only your points but everyone's comments very helpful.

    Making mistakes is what terrifies me the most, I know its all about learning from them.

    • Pleasure Helen Keniston-Davies. As we all know everyone makes mistakes, and everyone has development needs! It doesn't matter if you are the CEO of a major corporation or just starting out. I find that quite useful to remember as well. Best of luck with your new career in L&D.

  • Loving these ideas all, this is fantastic, in particular around the influencing and stakeholder management skills! My advice would be, learn not to take things personally, demonstrate empathy to your clients and stakeholders and be business focused. You are there to provide a service to help people and the organisation to learn and ultimately perform better. Remember that your clients may not necessarily be as excited about the latest learning trends or tools as you are, so you need to keep in mind that any solution that you come up with needs to be outcome focused with a purpose and not just a 'nice to have'. Also be prepared to challenge your clients thinking and don't do things for the sake of it. You are there to advise and add value to the business/ organisation so know your worth! Agree Liz thick skin is needed!

  • I once read a great book on evaluation, that suggested facilitators should also 'install a forgettery,' for when you've done everything possible to make the event work....and it's still come off the rails!

    Being generous, forgiving and having a thick skin also come with the territory 

  • Very good list Julie and also very good additions from Ady. We can do very little without "buy in" from a wide range of "others" - depending upon what it is we are changing, so I agree we need to work on our influencing skills.

    My additional tip would be: "love your learners". Find out about them, listen to them, help them analyse what their real needs are and provide them with at least what they need. Treat them respectfully and kindly and if possible, learn from them too. It can only be good!

  • Hi Julie. Once again you get me thinking and I haven't even got past point 1 yet!

    Totally agree that L&D must stay open to new ideas. It's stagnant waters if we don't. I think in addition, we also rely on others in our organisations at every level being open and onboard with the new ideas we want to introduce too. If our people are not open to new ideas, we have serious blocks in our way that will prevent us moving forward. I doubt very much those that try and resist and block new ideas are always of an I don't want to or I know better attitude. I think sometimes there's a mindset and fear of what will happen if we do so it's safer not to.

    The curiosity in the CIPD profession map that got us being open to new ideas in the first place, needs aligning with the skilled influencer and personally credible standards that are also there.

    I'm still very much developing in this area. I'm sure I can get better at taking those funky creative thoughts and translating them into intelligible organisational propositions. A method that I've had a good degree of success with is using case studies from other organisations particularly where there is demonstrable evidence that similar barriers or objections have been overcome.

    Tips on honing my influencing skills further to 'sell' the great ideas that I've bought into to others gratefully received!

    Now, onto points 2 to 10!


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