So my conference speaking gig went so well. I do hope WA are now more across how to utilise technology to reduce the flights and better support our remote workforce using Virtual Classrooms.
Things for me are going well. Lots of coffees and looking forward to delivering more work on Thursdays and Fridays through uneon. The next big project for me booked is in December where I am speaking on Personal Branding at Perth’s Corporate PA Summit.
Whilst preparing for the Avent Edge Learning & Development Forum on trends, I contacted a good friend from the UK Sara Hickman. What Sara said was so great I thought I’d share. If you want to know more about Sarah contact her on Linked-in.
Lots of clients have asked about different approaches to bite-size and blended learning recently and so I can see that it is much bigger need for any L&D Consultant. My suspicion is that cost cutting is often at the heart of it and so I always seek to check this at initial consultancy stage. There’s always a balance to be struck between the longer term ROI and the short term spend to get delegates ‘trained’.
Bize-size stuff is not necessarily new as the ‘Learning at Work’ Day for UK businesses has been in place for at least a decade. However, the thinking in the L&D community has shifted from these being ‘taster’ sessions for a full course to useful, high-impact sessions to help people develop maybe one or two key learning points. I know we did this with RBS and it’s something lots of my clients offer during lunch-breaks: ’lunch and learn’ ‘espresso learning’ are all versions of this.
The big change is technology and learning to use it as a helpful and supportive tool rather than a fancy new shiny thing. I worked with a client recently to run a 5-day long big corporate learning event and they wanted to use iPads. They were used simply to replace paper copies of handouts – not the best use and actually got in the way of the delegate experience.
However, technology is amazing and for a global business it can offer a great way for people to connect and share best practice. I think for me, this is often where the Virtual Classroom/Webinar etc has it’s greatest value – sharing and communicating across departments. What we have at our finger tips is a real opportunity to make learning exciting and available to more people.
What I think large companies often struggle with is the infrastructure and the ‘culture’ around online/virtual learning. Lots of technology systems just can’t support the more innovative online tools or they are locked down. For example, I have one client who won’t let me link to my YouTube site where I store the recordings of practice presentations. .
Personally, I am looking into a social media style space to create a Learning Community for my business. It’s not really blended learning but I want to see if there is an opportunity to support people to transfer their learning by having a forum with me and the people who attended their course to ask questions both before and after the event and to answer ‘challenges’ that I may put out there. It’s also a chance to push more content their way that may be of interest and run any Virtual Classroom ‘follow-up’ sessions if needed.
I guess what L&D professionals must do is approach the learning as just that; learning. How do I best help people learn this skill or knowledge? What’s the business need and therefore how much time/investment is needed to make the change required. It’s also true that we must take into account different expectations for different delegates – some will expect a more technology, some won’t.
There are sufficient learning theories out there that show we need to consider different approaches e.g.: VAK and so how do we blend those together with innovation rather than look for the quick fix solution. Whilst sitting in a classroom watching a death-by-powerpoint presentation is definitely seen as dark-ages style training, it is not true to say that virtual or short bite-size learning is better.
Learning is simple really – I need to understand the concept, apply it to what I know already, practice the new, then be given an opportunity to take that back to my work environment with the support I need to change my behaviour long term. Bite-size, blended, technology can help at any stage of that learning process but it cannot assume to replace them just because it can satisfy huge numbers and span global barriers.
I love TED.com for a source of lots of ideas. Interestingly, TED Conferences are globally recognised for innovative ideas in lots of industries (including technology and education) and yet they pull people together face to face and sit them in a room with speakers to listen and learn… Just saying’.
Love it Sara! Although, with the shear size of Australia we do need to embrace technology as a must…
So that’s it from me. Chat soon.
So it seems it has been a year since my last post! Shame on me. But rest assured I have been busy. I have been working as an in-house Learning & Development Consultant at a global corporate law firm here in Perth. It is a fabulous firm and I am delivering their management, people, communication, presentation, and business development training and am the Perth office performance coach. I’ve also been continuing to utilise my skills in online delivery, utilising virtual classroom technology to create blended programs which are fantastic for time poor and the global/remote work force. I have met some wonderful people and due to my role as Corporate Social Responsibility Champion, in recent weeks, have attended some amazing events recently including talks given by very inspirational women: Professor Catherine A MacKinnon and Rabia Siddique. More on that to come.
Summer in Australia was joyful. I am now settled into my own beach side apartment and life is full of adventure; camping, sailing, 4 wheel driving, wakeboarding and surfing (more paddling). Now we are coming into winter the weather continues to be very mild and life is balanced!
Exciting news for me, I am taking two days a week to work on my own projects…. That means I am actively looking for consultancy and freelance training work across Perth.
So what’s next; well I have my first speaking gig. AventEdge is bringing the Learning & Development Forum to WA. I will be speaking on:
Blend and bite: Embracing advances in learning and development to provide more accessible learning solutions for a remote and global workforce
· What is blended learning: Looking at the need to take traditional face to face training and offer different formats and options in how your workforces access your content, to engage them and support the transfer of learning.
· How you harness technology: In particular Virtual Classroom and recordings to support a remote and global workforce including converting technophobes.
· Utilising bite-size learning: How you can educate your business to move away from full day/week training programs and adopt shorter but equally effective bite size, lunch and learn initiatives.
· One world thinking: In light of many firms nationalisation/globalisation, sharing experiences and trends in the global L&D space with a focus on Europe to Australia.
Would love to see you there.
Until next time.
So I have been down-under for nearly six months. Life has taken a change and I am taking this year to fully integrate into Perth culture by being an employee again for a period, meaning I am a little quiet on my blog for the next six months. My plan over this period to get connected into the Perth business community and plan over the Christmas period to finalise my manuscript for printing, a challenge all in itself!
Australia for me is all (and more) I had hoped it would be, the sunshine’s, outdoor life is central to living and it definitely is a more manageably relaxed pace. But in all the perfection here I have been reflecting on my attitude. Now I am more settled I have been surprised by how some of the similar issues and attitudes I faced back in Blighty are creeping back into my existence here. Talking to good friend she quoted her father to me this week, ‘You are wherever you go’. Interesting! Although Australia for me gives me what I am seeking for this season, the reality is I am still doing my life with me, and although everything has changed I haven’t.
So in this new season I am proactively reminding myself of the blessings in my life. I am finding when it all so very good every day, I have to catch myself to ensure I don’t get complacent and take it all for granted. I am living my dream and I need to appreciate it every day. Yes the sun shines, yes the beach is great but still life has challenges and I choose to positively embrace them and move forward.
Well I have done it. I have fulfilled a lifelong goal and permanently moved to Australia. According to my brother I have wanted to move here since our first family holiday here in 1995 (I was just 15 years old). At my London leaving party I asked one of my school friends if she thought I was ‘mad to move’, her only comment was ‘she thought I would have gone sooner’ and if I had my way I would have. My visa took 4 years to process but after cracking on in London despite this, I am finally here. It all goes to prove how envisioning your future, setting a goal, and then creating the plan can mean it can be fulfilled.
So now that I am here both my father and uncle ask the pertinent question; ‘what’s the plan and what do you want to achieve now you are here?’
Well, week one I have accomplished great things; phone-tick, Medicare-tick and suitable off road car-tick (see photo). From today I am on the job hunt and strategising as we speak. My initial idea/plan is to move from consulting to in-house where I hope to work in a permanent capacity as a Learning and Development Specialist, looking to oversee/coordinate a L&D function, I hope retain some delivery and I will be continuing to coach private clients/ individuals (outside of employed work) as soon as clients present themselves.
So I am on the hunt (putting into practice all the tips and advice I give my clients), if you have any contacts or know of anything suitable, please be in touch.
Until next time, dream big and make a plan, I can vouch… it may take time but it can happen.
Well the silence has been deliberate (this time). I have huge news about fulfilling my dreams. As many of you may know my dream has always been to live in the sunshine and after a 4 year wait on an Australian visa I have been approved for emigration.
Truly exciting I here you all say, yes, but hugely terrifying too. My pastor this Sunday said “If you had an option of a terrifying life or boring life which one would you choose?” My friend saw me nodding… terrifying all the way I say!
So last week I brought a one way ticket to Perth Australia (yes I know it is the most isolated city in the world), but it is also close to Asia so I really hope to spread my portfolio over there too! Leaving on 11th July, which gives me just six short weeks to pack up life and business here and exit London in style (how about a huge party in Amsterdam, tick), say my goodbyes and get to Perth via a short trip off in Dubai and Brisbane.
Shocked? Yes, you and me both. It is something I never thought would happen. Apparently my brother says it has been my dream since I first stepped off the plan in Perth in 1995. An almost marriage (well in my head, but I assure you the boy did exit) to an Australian in 2007 got me a step closer for a moment, then prompted by the passing of my Grandfather there, I re-evaluated and looked into options to go independently. The world was against me, the global recession and their change in government reprioritise my visa, and they said it may never come through so I leant patience and setup uneon here.
The dream was still there but I needed to crack on with life. And that I did. I have had a wonderful 4 years working here in London and all over the UK and Europe. Thanks to all those who were are part of it both in encouraging me to go for it and those I worked with. It has been fantastic.
So, I had a dream, I pursued it, I waited a long time for it to happen and got on with life. Now a new adventure begins, who knows the outcomes but if it turns out not to be the dream at least I have pursued it!
The next six weeks will be busy. I am scheduled and planned like I have never been before; finally putting my Time Management and Personal Productivity skills into practice (my book needs publishing, eek).
I’ll keep you posted.
In the mean time if anyone is connected to the Australian L&D world, please connect me.
May the adventure continue… I say bring it on!
I cannot believe it is the end of March and I have neglected you all, I need to take some of my own training courses and get my blog on my monthly action list!
I have had a hugely exciting few months! January started well with me being up skilled to deliver Virtual Classroom Training, this means I am now delivering a variety of my training portfolio remotely through the internet. I have to say, I love it! Bite-size interactive training right to your desk, so far I have delivered core management modules, Managing Difficult People and the Role of a Manager.
January also saw me becoming an Associate Trainer for another large UK training house Hemsley Fraser as well as continuing and very much enjoying my work with Reed Learning. It was with them in February I officially became an International Trainer delivering for a Global IT firm across London, Copenhagen, Stockholm and Amsterdam. I was training back to back (going from venue to airport to venue to airport) hugely amazing, very unglamorous and a real buzz!
I was delivering a course I wrote called Personal Productivity which is a new variation on Time Management. I have since created a follow up summary which I attach with some of my top tips. Enjoy!
With March arriving, the spring is here and I am attempting to get a head start on the Summer Tennis season with some gentle jogging round Battersea Park and a swim at Clapham’s new pool, amazing facilities for central London I can’t recommend it highly enough. With spring on its way do you have any goals to set, things you want to achieve? Consider this and start making them happen.
Next time will be sooner, I want to share some highlights from a conference I have attended on Calling and Purpose, and an update on my book, … until then enjoy the sunshine and valuable Vit D.
As a Christian Christmas has a special place in my heart; a time of family, where I can contemplate the bigger picture. This year we had a new addition, a baby (but not a boy J ) a little girl, my niece. Oh how children add the special sparkle. Apparently she is just like me… she is a light sleeper and enjoys being entertained all the time… I love it and her. Then off to Wales for New Year celebrations with friends in a rented cottage, walks, games and fun memories made.
I came back to the office this week with a packed schedule which thankfully has reduced enabling me to reflect on a year gone by and consider this year ahead. Can you find space to do the same?
Last year there were many highs; a growing client base for which I won a training award, training nationally and did my first five day straight management training (yes I did say five days straight), a broadening of my training portfolio, more coaching clients with wider goals, more clarity gained around my messages and brand, and even stepping further in alternative projects like branding and copy writing. And I met some amazing truly inspirational people. It was great.
I look forward to more to come this year. The next two months will involved me starting to deliver training online through virtual classrooms, and training across Europe. The highlight I hope though will be my long due book, Pick Me, due in the Spring… look out for it all those of you who wish to hear some more of my story and how to ‘choose well and be chosen in work and life’. Fun hey.
Today I was reflecting on my aims for the year. I don’t like resolutions they are too quick fix/fail; instead I have premised some pillars to build further into this year:
- Courage – to share more of who I am with you all
- Obedience – to do what I know I should and take action over my procrastination (yes I am human)
- Follow up – proactively where I say I will
- Communicate – to continue growing a network of like minded individuals to share the journey with
- Peace – to relax the usual anxiousness of a full London life
- Joy – and enjoy this great and privileged journey I am on.
Perhaps you could consider a new way of setting goals and resolutions for the year?
Be blessed this 2012 and if I can support you in any way on the journey please do get in touch.
So the predictions of an Indian Summer finally came true! From the first heat wave in April I finally felt we had a proper summer and a tan to stay, especially as I was indulgent over August with trips to Hungry and France! How fun!
So as the weather turns today and the autumn season means a pick-up with work, what has the next season got in store?
I feel positive about opportunities coming to fruition. The last two years of setting up the business has shown me that a steady consistent approach does reap rewards, life is very much a marathon with occasional sprints. We can’t do it all but for me working out what is important and taking opportunities, however left field as they arise, has brought rewards. As a coach I am a keen encourager of goal setting and having a plan but what many coaches fail to share is the need to rework and realign these as circumstances and opportunities change. New opportunities may not have been in the plan but they bring colour, excitement and a renewed enthusiasm, so I encourage you all to be open-minded. I may have a big one, on the table; I’ll share as it become definite.
For me this season has been exciting, I have had new opportunity to work more with a fresh demographic. This year so far has been about bring solid skills training to some large corporate’s, their core staff and managers in the likes of Lloyds Banking Group, Royal Bank of Scotland, BSkyB and Citrix, what a privilege. The difference in the next season will come from engaging more with the younger demographic, the graduates. What a tough time they are having right now and for those who have made it into work, are such an energetic mouldable bunch, such a joy to be able to influence the start of their journey. Something else I am hoping will come through is I have put in for an opportunity support at the Olympics. What an honour to be able to get involved in something so community building, I’ll keep you posted.
So I encourage you to take a few minutes to plan the next season, rather than letting it just happen, a few minutes sitting in an arm chair capturing thoughts, ideas and passion. Perhaps consider more of the more random ideas, is there an environment where you can give back and add value? Perhaps a graduate you could informally encourage and mentor?
Enjoy the journey, and as there seem to be a few flu bugs going around, get on the Echinacea and Vit C to boost your immune system.
Here at uneon the summer has brought a welcome break from the day to day and an opportunity to crack on with some of the essential office duties including getting my book off to the publisher.
Over my reflection time I have had some serious break thoughts! For that I thank The Cube London, an innovation idea engineering work space in Shoreditch (do go visit their meeting spaces, the building and vibe is incredibly inspirational as are their events). I am working with them to continue to develop an innovative and relevant model for the London market place. It was whilst here I was referenced for the second time the work of Dr Helen Fisher. I saw her TED.com talk last year and planned to buy her book. For the last nine months I have had her website on my iPhone (I always think that if a recommendation comes to you twice, I take it as a prompt).
She has outlined a fascinating personality profiling concept which resonates with me immensely. She is a ‘love’ specialist which technically makes her a communication specialist, who has researched how we relate to one another in work and life. Her work with Match.com has created four core personality profiles based on the chemicals individuals produce and have high amounts of:
- The Explorer – high dopamine – new ideas, situations and adventure
- The Builder – high serotonin – building stability and consistent circles in family and friends
- The Director – high testosterone – straight talking and directive in decisions
- The Negotiator – high oestrogen – communication specialists, peacemaking, empathy
Interestingly she says that:
- Explorers are drawn to (communicate better with) explorers
- Builders to builders
- Directors to negotiator
- …And negotiators to directors.
The work looks at how these chemical work, and what personalities develop as a result of them. Most interesting to me is; if you can harness the chemicals you can develop your personality to adapt to different situations, particularly to become more effective at work. Dopamine is the happy chemical, how will putting on high energy music and going for a run and watching comedy impact on your productivity and creativity? Deep breathing or spending time by waters and trees heightens serotonin, how will this impact on your ability to focus? Standing tall and being very firm with your body movement increases testosterone, can you use this to be more assertive and get the outcome you want, and softening body language and using questioning and perception releases oestrogen which can be useful when challenges arise.
The Cube have taken these four chemicals and formulated them to harness and create an innovative ideas process:
- Start with oestrogen – ask questions, don’t make judgements
- Bring in the dopamine – get some ideas and thinking
- Calm it down with the serotonin – create calm ah monuments using cognitive though
- Hardness the testosterone – think linear, what is the use?
As an individual I use three of the profiles; the Explore in me is my creativity and energy for the new and the training environments, the Negotiator in me is the coach and the understanding of the individual in the group training environment, the Director in me makes the business happen and keeps us growing. My journey is on valuing all three profiles as they do conflict with each other and seeing each of their values in my success. If your interesting in finding our more go meet The Cube and read Helen Fishers book, ‘Why Him, Why Her’, don’t be put off by the name and the dating connotations, the book is about communication.
So what have you planned for the rest of the summer, are there some books you’ve put off reading and know they will add real value? Summer should be a time heightened activity. This year I have picked up my tennis racket in a serious way and joined a regular group. Wonderful to be outside, running around and meeting new people. I would highly recommend for the last month of sunshine getting involved in that ‘thing’ you’ve fancied and put off for a while.
Holiday wise I’m being a bit more low-key. I got rained-in, whilst in Falmouth but it was wonderful to rest, and spend quality time with those I love. Next week I’m off for a bit more high adventure in Budapest, stories to come in September.
Until then, enjoy the sunshine, take proper lunch breaks and drink plenty of water.
Do you like the new look site, enjoy interacting with it? I love it!
I’ve had a great month, been doing a few great projects through Reed Learning with RBS and Sky which has seen me around the country, Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh.
But the focus for me right now is very much getting my booked, Pick Me, finalised and off to the publishers, Inspiration Press. It has become a bit of a slow journey so I am going to get my head down and just crack on with it… starting now. People often ask me; what are the best ways to get over procrastination… well there is no quick solution. Here are some things I find helpful:
- Clear up a bit but not too much, a tidy space is important but don’t get sucked into tidying your pencils
- Get the start time in the diary, know when you are scheduled to start tasks
- Get some good music on that will motivate you
- Break the tasks in to achievable elements so it does not overwhelm, start with planning, then the doing
- Give yourself a treat once you have completed each element, keep it simple; cup of tea, five minutes on the internet, try and keep away from sweets and choc etc
- Drink as much water as possible to keep you hydrate and aid concentration Get someone else to help you… sometimes a partner can make the process so much easier
- Get accountable, tell a few people you are going to do and get them to check-in with you
- Just get on with it first thing in the day; in Brian Tracy’s acclaimed book ‘Eat The Frog’ he says line up your tasks in ugliest order and work through them ugliest/hardest first. This will get it over and done with a free you up to be stress free for the rest of the day.
- If you really aren’t doing it; ask yourself why, do you need to deal with other issues first.
- And finally if you really can’t do it, can you get someone else to do it for you?
An exciting week ahead for me, a bit of Advanced Presentation training tomorrow, a few client meetings, ending with me doing some filming for the site. Hope to upload that for your all to see soon.
Wishing you a productive week,