Category Archives: Conference

Do It Anyway

Unsure.

Bright eyes.

Look to hear more.

The micros.

The macros.

Seconds loom like minutes.

An empty stage.

An open mic.

A space.

To fill.

And you wait.

You wait.

You breath.

And you wait.

And your silence communicates everything we need to hear.

Unsure.

Bright eyes.

Short breath.

Delicious discomfort.

We do it anyway.

No pull.

No push.

A choice to follow.
#nationalpoetryday

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Learn! Live! Baby!

[to be read, to the pace and tune of… Ice Ice Baby. If that means nothing, please complete this recommended pre-work by clicking here and watching for atleast 30 seconds]

Alright Stop! Collaborate, and Listen!

LPIs back with a another convention

Something, to make your mind shine brightly, Flow like Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi  

Is it any good? You better go!

Interactive workshops, then you’ll know.

MC Don will rock the mic like a vandal. A personalised learning experience so you really get a handle.

Chance, rush to the speaker in that room, Sparking  your thinking with a knowledge boom. 

Ready, to soak up Masie and Wiseman, anything less than the best is not right man!

Live it and learn it, I bet you can’t wait, you better be ready for the second day. 

If there was a problem with OD you’d solve it.

Check out the website with this link that unfolds it.

Ok, ok, I’ll stop. It just felt like a perfectly apt tune that makes me think of Training Zone‘s Jon Kennard – not sure why!?

This September 7th and 8th will be my fourth Learning Live! The annual conference for L+Ders by the Learning and Performance institute, and I’m getting excited. This year I’ll be supporting the backchannel for those of you not able to attend, by brining the event to Twitter, blogs and probably a bit of Periscope.

The thing about putting on a learning event for people who work within learning and development, is that the expectations are high. Your audience are familiar with being the facilitators. Comfortable there infact. I’d make the assumption that they arrive eager to be engaged in learning. You might conclude that makes them the best and/or worst audience. I’d choose the former.

This year the LPI are offering ‘Personal Learning Experience’ with consultation and guidance to support you in embedding the learning in your organisation, and maximising your time at the event. For example if you’re looking at improving your digital offer to engage a national audience you might want to attend Jo Cook‘s session on virtual learning, or hear what VirtualSource Technologies have to offer. I’d like to know who is using an mobile app, how and what for!

The keynotes each year have been excellent, and I’m really looking forward to this years. Elliot Masie is an author, speaker, columnist with masses of L+D experience to share, known for developing learning models to accelerate the spread of knowledge, learning and collaboration throughout organisations. He also publishes a Learning Trends newsletter. I’ve been a Richard Wiseman fan for some time, Professor of the Public Understanding of Psychology. He’s written several pop-Psychology books including Quirkology, and the Act As If Principle. He makes psychology accessible and de-mystifies misconceptions, and I’m all for that! I particularly enjoyed the guided happiness diary concept of his ’59 Seconds’ book. The idea being you only need to spend 59 Seconds attending to something each day to have a impact and shift a habit or thinking pattern. I’m looking forward to hearing what he’s working on now.

Hope to see you there! not too late to book tickets here.

If you can’t make it, we plan to bring the event to you, via the backchannel. Here are the dedicated SoMe team you might wish to follow: @Michael_LPI @kategraham23 @PhilWillocx @ilikelearning2 @Jo_coaches @Amy_Brann @WildfireSpark @s0ngb1rd  Also, the crew behind the LPI and making is happen: Don Taylor (Conference Chairman) – @DonaldHTaylor, Colin Steed (CEO of the LPI) – @ColinSteed, Ed Monk (MD of the LPI) – @EdmundMonk  and the main account @YourLPI

F2 Developing Culture By Extending Coaching Capability

My second session of the day is with Paula Ashfield, Head of Learning and Danone, and Gaelle Tuffigo, Learning and OD Specialist and Anthony Newman, Director of Brand, Comms and Marketing at Cancer Research UK providing their organisational case studies of how they developed culture by extending coaching capability.

Ian Pettrigew (Chair) opens the session and asks us to think about what we want to get from the session, and the room is alive with the buzz of peoples intentions to leave with some learning.

Cancer Research UK

Our first speakers are Anthony and Gaelle…[I’ll write as ‘one’ speaker as they’re interchanging]
Cancer Research are the words largest origination research all types of cancer with a aim to: Prevent, Diagnose, Treat and Optimise (treatments).

Anthony start with WHY did they focus on developing culture this way:
They’re already high performing, well respected around the world, and rate high in engagement scores, and they have a “nice” (from the feedback) strengths-based culture. HOWEVER, improvements can be made: There are pockets where performance could be addressed better, and we have high turn over in some areas, people aren’t always loving the relationship with their manager…feeling disempowered, e.g. “a parent-child culture”. People feel looked after but not enabled to grow.

At the same time Cancer Research UK were doing a Fit for the Future campaign…


Anthony emphasises that their action to resolve this was guided first bit ensuring that L+D strategy fits to the business strategy.

The solutions:
Coaching approaches empower and enable people to act autonomously, and move away from directive management
Improve retention by focusing on the purpose and value of every individual

The challenge:
People feel they’ve already done this – but it only got applied for senior leaders and ‘heads’ of
“we’re doing it already, we don’t need this training” – confused with what coaching is, and what mentoring is

The route map…


What Gaelle did…

Nail your business case – do good secondary research and find evidence to back up what you intend to apply in practice, don’t just rely on your influencing skills
Secure a sponsor – get the right one, not just ‘a sponsor’
Socialise the approach within the business –

The difference between coaching and mentoring…? Coaching is drawing out, Mentoring is putting in. They wanted a blend of the 2

Aim: To equip everyone in Cancer Research UK to use coaching conversation throughout their working relationships: in the lift, in the kitchen, in 1:1s, in meetings.

Priority = coaching a management style

5 point plan…

Also…
• Training action learning set facilitators, and enable them to train others in facilitating these.
• Career and talent development coaching for people who want to stay, grow within, or leave and move on
• Maximised their volunteers – found what skills they have and invited some to be mentors
• Coaching resources available on the intranet, including tools
• A pack for managers to deliver learning – all about coaching, why and what – to their teams
• A group on yammer for exchanging tips and sharing examples

How does it align to the business…

Antony starts to talk about metrics, how important this is for the organisation (and any org) and the challenges they’ve faced. Have you every had the experience of implementing something then when it’s done, been asked to retrospectively measure something? He shares something they didn’t win: they tried to show the impact of coaching upon performance management, but the engagement measurement tool agreed upon didn’t ask people about being coached or their experience. How can you asked people questions about coaching if they don’t know what coaching is? There are so many different definitions.

“I would never say…If you can’t measure something don’t bother doing it” otherwise you might miss a huge opportunity. It’s an add-on not a art point. Don’t let it define what you do.

What they did do…

Record the Impact: when they interview people asking about their experience and opinions of how the coaching and mentoring has impacted them, they gained qualitative data that supported their original aim.

Biggest learning point to share… “There is a big difference between agreement and commitment” – they had agreement, but this didn’t always transfer into commitment.

Danone UK

Paula is a lot further ahead on the coaching culture journey, and she focuses on a sub-business ‘Danone Nutricia’ (early life nutrition) who provide Cow and Gate, and Actimel which has a really strong core purpose built of a history of science and expertise.

What were you doing in 2011? What happened for you? 2011 is known as the year that things happened – Paul suggests we google it. Their were signification stockmarket drops and the word of business was struggling, whilst at Danone Nutricia they were doing ok: growth dropped from 18% (2009) to 8% (2011). You might have expected this was positive, to thrive in this climate. However there was not buzz, only a committed drive to sustain filled the organisation.

Hot Spots – Book by Linda Gratton. Analogy of a thermal image of you business. If you could thermal image your business what would it look like?
Green – routine, things happen, but not much buzz
Ice-Blue – when green for too long, things get harder, energy drops
They were looking to fine the glow spots…

“ambition was to spread a nuclear thermo Mexican wave – growth glow”

The sosiblitliy fo business and possibilities to talent

Heads were down and full of purpose and people were busy doing. Thats what they knew. They was comfortable “a comfort blanket”


To take a bold step forward they first needed to establish trust. Coaching has been used in pockets – and its impact was an innate belief that it worked in developing trust. So they sought reports and evidence based to support their strategy.


Coaching was going to be the enabler to trust. With patience, and space.
They had a clear impact about how implementing a coaching culture would impact the business, the people, the growth and the buzz. This was defined and understand from the beginning.

1. Set Expectations 2011

  • individual development plan, giving manger basic coaching skills to start using coaching conversations (programmes available to EVERYONE) and learn together, helped people see learning isn’t just in the training room.

2. Create Momentum 2012

  • tsunami of coaching effort that hit the business and pervaded everyone in someway or form: accredited all senior leaders as business coaches (22 people in total). In stead of a pilot, they ALL when through this at the same time together on a 6 month programme. It created a profound effect on the business. It had significant amounts of practice and by learning together in this group we coached each other and provide peer support to each others development. Result: coaching cross functionally, coaching peers. We understood more about each others teams that the person leading that team. Increased trust, collaboration and shared responsibility. Whist you’re doing this, you’re gaining insights from across the organisation and learning the business.

3. Embedding 2014

  • hold tight, dig in, trust the process, keep your nerve and persist
  • made in part of a graduate development programme
  • ensured field workers were using

4. Renewal 2015 (its embedded)

  • develop internal coaches – qualifications
    challenge: keeping track of all relationships going on, to ensure ethics and standards
  • The programme…


Key Learning…

  • If those senior leaders ‘failed’ the accreditation (not everyone did first time) and the organisation believes in those people, they will continue their development until they achieve the pass. Everyone is now accredited.
  • our L+D spend has reduced, because we re-invested into the organisation
  • their L+D team use coaching skills throughout their whole role: consultancy, identifying needs, stakeholder engagement

PHOTO STATS

What an exceptional example of how to tell a story! Thank you Paula.
[This blog was written live in session at the CIPD Learning and Development Show 2016, Olympia, London on Thursday 12th May. My intention is to capture a faithful summary of the session highlights, but my own bias and views will undoubtedly contribute to the tapestry of this story. Please excuse any typos, and don’t hesitate to join the conversation on Twitter with me @Jo_Coaches and the blog-squad #cipdldshow]

E1 Using Cognitive Neuroscience to Maximise Learning

Working in an organisation providing treatment for drug and alcohol addiction, learning about how we can use neuroscience to support people to be the best version of themselves excited me. The human brain is quite frankly amazing – in the truest sense of the word. The pathways and connections learned, strengthened and reinforced, as well as the capacity to form new pathways are astonishing. The fact that we can attend to our own thoughts and observe them is powerful. And yet the neurological communication is so vast and intricate that overall know little, apart from potential. Like outer space and the deepest parts of the worlds oceans. However despite these latter two examples, I believe that to know and understand the human brain and chemistry is more reachable.
And Dr Itiel Dror makes it so…as he begins by inviting us to contact him after today if we want further information, he is keen to share more.

Itiel’s day job is research, with a little bit of training and consultancy. He is interested in human performance, skills, judgement and decision making and works with organisations in the forensic domain (e.g. police, CJS) and consults to improve performance with organisations. Cognitive covers understanding the human mind and out thinking processes.

What can you do to make your training more effective?
Itiel’s says if we can understand the brain/mind, we can apply this specifically to enhance our practice. This is what we will leave the session with today.

Exercise:
Itiel demonstrated the Stoop Effect and asks us to read aloud the colour of the text, not the word. Try it here.

Our brain performs automatically most of the time.

The point, its not enough to clearly and exactly instruction – instructions are not brain friendly. We must take into account how the brain works. To follow the instructions of someone else is not thinking for ourselves. The cognitive process is different and we don’t gain any learning or self-efficacy.

The brain is:
Active – always computing and processing and communicating
Limited – in resources and ability to process, so not all information get assimilated even when we’d like it to, and I guess vice versa.

Dr Dror shows us a graphic or coffee beans, and within in, asks if we can spot the face. I can’t – and I know this is because the older we get the more we perceive holistically: our brains view images as a whole and struggle to depict the detail or abstract element (just that piece of information has so much application).

Itiel challenges us, it’s not good enough to say “i gave them the information…it’s there job to learn”. It is our ethical responsibility to create brain friendly learning environments and design learning sessions that enable learning. “It is not unto the ‘Learner’ to learn”. This is different to others messages about self-directed and curated learning, and the argument that we should appreciate that people are learning without any input. Or maybe, their is a fine balance.

We need to design and deliver with consideration and appreciation of how the brain understand information, process it and stores it for later use: assimilate and transference in application.

“if you don’t understand this, how can you design training, deliver training…if you care and you want people to learn, this defines the game”

Dr Dror says he wants to enable us to train people who don’t want to be trained, who think they don’t need the training and who challenge us all the way through. I wonder if you’ve ever experienced that. I wonder if you thinking that people shouldn’t turn up to a learning session unless they already know why they’re there, and actually want to be. And, I wonder if you’ve been the facilitator with a group of people who make it very clearly they don’t want to be there…only at the end of the day to get feedback like “i didn’t want to come today, but it was brilliant!’ , or “that was 50 times better than I was expecting it to be”….? I wonder if you believe that peer word of mouth (not a coaching manager) is the best encourager of learning.

 

EXPERIENTIAL/ACTIVE LEARNING

  • Active learning is better than passive
  • Doing is more memorable that learning by taking notes
  • Simulations provide experiences to learn within

3 critical perspectives – learning is:

  • ACQUISITION – maximise the capacity for people to acquire the information. Get the balance right: how many brain calories do people need to spend to acquire the information you are passing on? the amount of information acquire should outweigh the effort expended to gain it. Is this how we learn?
  • REMEMBERING – we want people to be able to retrieve the information and have it stored for when needed. Give manageable sizes and repeat.  Is this how we learn?
  • APPLICATION – we want learning to have behavioural impact so we maximise transfer and generalisation of skills…. Dr Dror is suggesting we want to get to here [this links to Maslow’s self-actualising for me].

How to do active learning…

EMOTIONAL LEARNING

“It depends how emotion you want it to be, from subtle to extreme and i’m not a subtle man” – we don’t get to decide whether or not the learning is emotional at Addaction. If we ignore it, we don’t accept the emotional content. Itiel’s example is sex education with young people, and showing them photos of what can happen to infected genitalia. The team at Addaction facilitate workshops including topics like suicide, and domestic violence.

How to do emotional learning…

  • Tell a personal story – bring it alive and be real, the power of story telling
  • Let people make mistakes, show them the mistake, let them experience and feel it – then of course, give them the opportunity (and resource) to get it right
  • Show them photos (e.g. of real examples) – I would add video here, which can also be reaching and impactful
  • Shock and traumatise them – [whilst giving you a fair account of the learning session I’m in today I can’t endorse this an ethical L+D practice, even if it was discussed in lightness. Neither does the CIPD]. Dr Dror clearly emphasises that this should be used in context! Think relevance to the learning. His example is that he says regularly says to his children “don’t leave your phone lying around someone will take it’, and so when they do, he takes it. Once, and they never left it lying around again.

 Image of geography twister map to make learning fun and engaging.

You can contact Dr Dror at http://www.cci-hq.com and i.dror@ucl.ac.uk
[This blog was written live in session at the CIPD Learning and Development Show 2016, Olympia, London on Thursday 12th May. My intention is to capture a faithful summary of the session highlights, but my own bias and views will undoubtedly contribute to the tapestry of this story. Please excuse any typos, and don’t hesitate to join the conversation on Twitter with me @Jo_Coaches and the blog-squad #cipdldshow]

A2 Developing the Right Leaders for Your Business and People

Good morning L+Ders…the #cipdldshow is finally here.

My first session today is Case Study session in A2 with Beverly Aylott Head of Learning at AbbVie Ltd, and Shauna O’Handley Head of Talent Value Proposition & Performance, Misys Financial Software (@f3peep) sharing their experience of sustaining performance through changing times by focusing on core leadership values.

Ruth from CIPD starts by welcoming us to the conference and encouraging a 2 minute chat with the person next to you…the networking has begun, and the room is buzzing. Everyone is ready to learn something. Let’s go!

 

First to speak is Beverly Aylott, and she’s asking us ‘how do we develop leaders in a VUCA world?’ We answer from the room, and Beverly wants to know if we notice it? do we feel this world? Pressure and demand for leaders today to inspire and challenge. Beverly has worked with the NHS, Guide Dogs for the Blind and a global pharmaco company, and wants to share the differences and similarities, focusing on the key themes that hold true throughout all sectors and organisation.

The 3 programmes:

  1. Guide Dogs for the Blind leadership development programme

Beverly started at the top and developed the senior leaders first, then worked they way down. they focused a lot of celebration and appreciation to communicate achievement. A challenge was the disconnect between senior leader and those they manager, so they were put Learning Action Teams (LATs) together.

LAT = Learning Action Teams. Groups of 3, for 30minutes per person and you chose (and ask) for what you need: the answers? coaching? action  learning set.

 

  1. NHS Trust Imperial College

Beverly believes that in order to create a successful leadership programme it needs to be aligned enough to the current culture so that it’s acceptable, and disruptive enough to push and challenge people towards changing this. This fine balance is key. The aim was to connect the different professional silos, e.g. nurses, doctors, health care assistance – they need to collaborate well. So these group combines on the programme cohorts and worked together in a learning setting.

The combination of learning groups and the design is important, e.g. putting certain groups and people together for positive reasons (different management levels, different departments). This doesn’t need to be shared, this a part of good design and your responsibility as an L+D professional.

  1. pharmaceutical company (not named)

The leader journey has not modules or programme, is self-lead, and based on communities. Some have decided on 360 feedback, some want to run feedback centres, some are blogging, some are holding chat-groups. It is fully participant driven. The aim is empowerment. “if you want a group of leaders who are empowered, down tell them how to develop themselves”

All are very different, and the leadership development programmes look very different. Yet Beverly asks us to notice that there are similarities that lead her to conclude with the following 10 key themes:

  • Make it behavioural not functional – this functional stuff isn’t leadership stuff
  • Strengths based – there is no competency framework, look at what people are passionate about
  • Process over content – give people the skills to learn for themselves
  • Sustainability – not a one-off, create a culture where people learn for themselves, want to do so, and continue to do so
  • Active senior sponsorship – get senior managers to take part
  • Support challenge for participants – enable people to leave their comfort zone, ask difficult questions
  • Bespoke to the context – make sure it fits
  • Mixed roles and disciplines – build networking during the programme
  • Experiential and learner-lead – empowering, personal responsibility
  • Learning Communities, peer networks and Learning Action Teams

 

Questions from the floor…

Q: What made you choose this approach rather than competency based?

A: Beverly encourages us to be strengths based and draw upon what people are good at so leadership development is desirable and self-instigated. that if you tap into your natural energies it will create  much better environment for everyone. For me this is about harnessing intrinsic motivation and building self-efficacy.

Q: Are the right leaders for the business always the right business for the people?

A: Beverly emphasises the difference between good management, and leadership, suggesting that we do need the business to be managed well and people in leadership roles should pay attention to their leadership skills, approach, and impact.

Q: what types of leaders do we need for Generation Y?

A: in summary… everyone has different needs from the manager and looks for different things in a leader. Adaptability is a key skill for using strengths effectively as a leader.

Q: what if leaders don’t self-evaluate and don’t think this learning is for them?

A: Beverly believes this relates to our role as L+D professionals: to create a environment where people learn for themselves, and be motivational influencers. Nothing Beverly has created has ever been mandatory – the would contradict the process of someone developing themselves. You cant force someone to develop something they don’t want to develop. e.g. when someone asked Beverly, ‘can you put this person on a course because they need to do X’? her answer is to coach the coach, and enable the manager to have the right conversation with X, so that they want to come on the course.

Final message… if people feel valued, they feel more engaged. People have feedback how good it has been to have time and space to invest in themselves.

 

Next Shauan O’Handley sharing a Misys case study: the challenge was, 5000 people spread globally and significant business growth. Everyone was working towards a different idea of what they thought good was.

The first step was to ensure everyone had a common understanding “the same drumbeat”  and invest in people and a shared understanding of what and who we are because “our intellectual property walks on two legs”.

Shaun followed the idea of Simon Sineck and built the shared narrative, starting with WHY, the HOW, the making sure the WHAT was clear and consistently understood. The story defines who Misys are as a organisation. Every part of what they do is now underpinned by this story One Misys, the CEO would say that the people strategy is our business strategy!

“The millennial and how we meet there needs is huge” – Shauna questions how can we make it exciting for this generation. Most importantly – create meaning:


In elaborating on the image above..

Ask: what’s your purpose? why are you here? Start with this WHY and have the conversation with the people you lead to understand what this is

Similar to Beverly, Shauna was keen to empower leaders to empower people – to own their problems and find their own solutions. It’s easy to always give the answer when someone is asking the question, but a more coaching approach and support others to develop.

Shauna encourages us not to lean on the senior leaders for all the ideas, but recognise that we have a wealth of talent and skill within the organisation.

Here’s the programme…
Connect – Me as a Leader

Innovate – Me and my Organisation

Expand – Me and my Team

It’s behavioural, and learner-lead. People map their own plan and journey to ensure they can meet the aims of their role, and the organisation. The over aim is personal effectiveness, and Shauna says this starts with understand self via EQI and personal effectiveness assessments and developing this self-awareness.


Most important piece of learning to share from Shauna: never underestimate how people can develop their own development, and prioritise this to be effective!

Questions from the floor…

Q: what impact has the meaning making has on the organisation?

A: Shauna describes that is done via constant conversations with people, and creating the space and agenda for these conversations, with feedback to enable people to develop and grow. Letting people know when they have done something well “that’s huge for millennials”. Shauna recommends that we use developmental questions, ask people what they think, what they want, and actually being interested in the answers – and I’ll add here …expect the answers to be useful and helpful and of value

Q: how important is coaching as a leadership tool?

A: Shauna is very passionate about this…”it changes peoples lives”, builds trust, builds relationships. She encourages coaching conversations (as above)

For more reading Shauna’s approaches are guided by the philosophies of Simon Sineck and Dan Pink.
[This blog was written live in session at the CIPD Learning and Development Show 2016, Olympia, London on Wednesday 10th May. My intention is to capture a faithful summary of the session highlights, but my own bias and views may also feature within this blog. Please excuse any typos, and don’t hesitate to join the conversation on Twitter with me @Jo_Coaches and the blog-squad #cipdldshow]

A Blog About Blogging

When it comes to blogging, there are…

Small blogs, long blogs, big fat juicy blogs. Fast blogs, slow blogs, the ones that open your mind blogs. Short blogs, long blogs, some as big as your head. Intriguing blogs, incredible blogs, and some you read in bed.

There are reflective blogs written with care, and informational blogs written with flare, full of references and links to spur you to read more. Keep asking, keep questioning.

There are sharing blogs. There are daring blogs.

Blogs that download thinking and then upload it to share with the world.

Blogs that drip with passion and fire, fuelling you into action.

Blogs that reach up inside you and gently tug at something that makes your eyes water.

Warm blogs that require a cuppa, and a re-read to understand and sink it..and ponder. And then pacy blogs that spark your thinking and trigger a blogged response.

There are even blogs written at 4am in the morning due to pain-induced-insomnia, fuelled by frustration that end up receiving a colossal amount of views.

And sometimes there are blogs that are written live during an event or learning session in order to capture the essence of being there for those who can’t be. Blogs that you write whilst listening, interpreting, understanding and reflecting all at the same time – those blogs.

On May 11th and 12th I’ll be joining a fabulous blog-squad team at the #CIPDLDShow.  to live-blog and tweet my way through some seminars, and hopefully provide some periscoping into the exhibitions too! Tickets and more info here.

After stocking up my Contigo (best thermo-mug around) with a good cuppa tea I’ll be starting Wednesday in the company of Beverly Aylott Head of Learning at AbbVie Ltd, and Shauna O’Handley Head of Talent Value Proposition & Performance, Misys Financial Software (@f3peep) sharing their experience of sustaining performance through changing times by focusing on core leadership values [A2]. I’m looking forward to hearing their stories about creating authentic, accountable and emotionally intelligent leadership, as this and a strengths-based approach is right up my street. Plus I’m finding myself doing a lot of work around enculturation, personal vision and values at the moment. Powerful stuff that needs considered execution to be impactful and land well. So yes, I’ve picked a session that resonates just from the blurb, and I’m intrigued to hear Beverly and Shauna’s stories how they overcame the challenges, especially in organisations and sectors vastly different to mine.

Next another case study session with Tim Hallatt, Learning & Development Business Partner at ATS Euromaster, and James Mitchell, Snr Director Global Talent Development at Backspace on how to they demonstrated the value of L&D in supporting overall business strategy, engaged senior leaders, and made learning an invaluable process to the business [B2]. Again I’m interested to learn from their stories and how they achieved this, and also to compare notes as this reflects a similar seminar that my colleagues will be speaking at on Day 2: [G2] Identifying and Gaining the Learning Investment Needed in your Business .

Come afternoon I’ll be eager to hear Jane Hart (@C4LPT) talk about Social and Collaborative Learning [C1] as I’d love to create and embed more of this at Addaction. Followed by a bit of open-space learning (which I absolutely love) on [D3] Equipping your L&D Team with the Essentials for the Future. With Laura Overton, Founder and CEO of Towards MaturityDerek Bruce, Head of International Development for ABN AMRO and the CIPD’s own Andy Lancaster, Head of L&D Content.

In the evening you’ll find me gathering with other L+Ders for the CIPD sponsored tweet-up at the Hand and Flower pub close to Olympia. Book your ticket here! Come and say hello!

For Thursday I’m excited to start the day with Dr Itiel Dror; an actual neuroscientist talking about neuroscience – what a treat! Dr Dror will share his masterclass on ‘Using Cognitive Neuroscience to Maximise Learning’ [E1] based on his work as Cognitive Neuroscientist at University College London. The blurb suggests this masterclass will help you make learning memorable to inform behaviour change – my kinda biz.

Then it’s more coaching and culture stuff for me (I know, I’m as surprised as you are!) with case studies from Danone UK, via Paula Ashfield their Head of Learning, and Cancer Research UK, via Gaelle Tuffigo their Learning and OD Specialist, and Anthony Newman their Director of Brand, Comms and Marketing. I’m already wondering if Cancer Research face similar challenges to other charity organisations like Addaction, when it comes to culture and coaching, and keen to hear what they’ve learnt along the way. The session is called Developing Culture by Extending Coaching Capability [F2].

After refuelling me and the Contigo at lunch, I’ll be catching [G1] Professor Cliff Oswick of Cass Business School, City University London deliver a masterclass on Using New Forms of Change to Create Meaningful L&D Opportunities – I just love the title of this one…hope the session is as meaty as this blurb:

  • implications of transitioning from traditional ‘diagnostic OD’ to contemporary ‘dialogic OD’
  • how new forms of change can accelerate and deepen the experiential learning process
  • practical illustrations of how emergent change can enhance organisational L&D capabilities

Yes please – I’ll have a bit of that! But don’t forget you can hear my colleagues from Addaction at [G2] if this doesn’t take your fancy.

Then, because I’m not keen on People Metrics at all, I’m going to end the day with Google employees Steph Fastre, People Development Specialist and Aimee O’Malley, L+D Business Partner hosting a masterclass on [H1] Data and User Insights to Inform Learning Strategies. Why? Because in my experience of going towards discomfort or the less favourable option, there’s always been good learning. Plus, Steph has done some great stuff at Google including G-2-G which I’d like to hear more about.

Then…you’ll probably find me snoozing on the train back to Derbyshire – brain-aching, fingers tired, Contigo in tow.

A Conference all about Culture 

Are you a Culturevist?

According to the engaging and smart Matthew Partovi the founder of Culturevist, you are if your care about culture so much you would leave an organisation due to a lack of fit, or put your job at risk to stand up up for culture, or attend a conference all about culture at work.

How much do you care about culture?

Last month I attended the first Culturevist conference in Clerkenwell, underneath a church, in a hall often used for exams. I knew it was going to be a good day from the moment I walked in… Why? Because the person on the sign-in desk was genuinely please to meet me, rather than overly concerned about their role/nervous/stressed/pressured to perform. I’ve not experienced that quite the same before. This warmth increased in the coffee area and in the conference room: great lighting, no raised stage, balloons, and individual desks in rows “a metaphor for how we don’t want this to be…so we’ll move them as we wish during the day” (Matt). Actually, I appreciated the space to myself for notes and thinking whilst listening.


Whilst recently facilitating a train-the-trainer course I suggested that the biscuits you buy for people communicate how (much) value you them. Will you buy the smart-price Rich Tea or extra special cookies. I analysed my biscuit choice of Fig Rolls as nurturing (they seem nostalgic to others and my Grandma always had them available).

At Culturevist we got…

Yes I paid to attend, but regardless, what does this communicate about my value as an attendee? They had me at chocolate and stationary.

The attendees were a mix of Comms, HR, and others interested in organisation culture: mainly in-house. As Culturevist make it a little harder for freelancers to attend their events…I’m not sure why. Maybe because someone previously disliked ‘the sell’ at a networking event, or maybe to reduce the competition (there were freelancers in attendance). The sponsor was subtle and I enjoyed have no selling – how bloody refreshing. Or maybe it was just covert.

The speakers came from Google, WordPress, HSBC, Just Giving, and Facebook. Each speaker and just 15mins to share their story/message, followed by plenty of time for audience Q+A.

First up was Dame Zarine Kharas CEO of Just Giving, a profit making company operating in a non-profit sector. Zarine and a Just Giving have done a lot of work around culture. Key messages included:

  • Ensure trust is at the heart of organisation.
  • Treat people like adults, because they are: like decision makers, like innovators, and they will be so.
  • There is no space for ego in good culture
  • The next step for Just Giving is to measure values

This latter part filled me with equal concern and curiosity, so my question from the flow was “how, for what reason, and what will you do with data?”. But with this being a future venture Zarine just had curiosity, and something about “measuring how well people live up to the standard” which seemed to contradict all that had previously been said.

(Zarine didn’t want to use a mic, and I really struggled to hear her, so I apologise for the lack of detail. Made me think about this article on the price of academic publications; who do we exclude by reducing the accessibility of our message?)

Alice Breeden is Head of People Operations for Google EMEA, and was next up. She shared a Google journey and shared the thinking that facilitated it. After noticing those who stood out as great managers, they asked questions like, what if every Googler had an awesome manager? Reminiscent of problems solving that starts with ‘dumbest ideas first’. Asking the wide-open what if’s often open thinking and conversation that contains the very essence of the concluding solution. What if everyone in your organisation had an awesome manager. What would that look like? Start there.

Alice shared how google did a lot of measuring of managers, to find out what makes an awesome one in Google. Then used these items/traits to develop others. The questions they asked was What if every team was successful? Then measured what made an effective team in Google, and provided people with opportunities to develop these elements.

Google have work rules:

  1. Give your work meaning
  2. Trust your people
  3. Hire only people who are better than you
  4. Don’t confuse development with managing performance
  5. Be frugal and generous
  6. Pay “unfairly”
  7. Nudge
  8. Managing the rising expectations
  9. Enjoy! and then go back to 1

I like these a lot! Although I’m told there was nothing new or exciting from this snapshot that hasn’t already been published and shared before. Which actually leaves me wondering what actually happens inside Google and if this is congruent with the published comms. How much is talking vs doing? I’m certainly going back to no.1 atm and enjoying what happens when you keep to 2-4.

Recently Googlers have experienced development exploring unconscious bias to develop self-awareness. Different to Zarine of just giving, Alice said that Google don’t measure values; they feel them.

 

Next up was Emmajane Varley, Global Head of Insight, Culture & Group CEO Comms at HSBC who told us a story. A story about a lack of trust in the organisation that they set out to solve, but got stuck (a story has points of stuckness) then discovered inspiration when randomly overhearing a Behavioural Economist and a Town Planner. They were discussed the congestion problem on a well known bridge, and after some field research involving people asking drivers stuck in the jam to roll down the windows for a quick chat, they concluded that the cause of the congestions was the ripple effect of kindness and gratitude. When one driver gave way (where officially they shouldn’t have) and got a thank you, they oxytocin inducing response lead perpetuated more giving way. Resulting is long traffic cues and congestion, but no-one minded because they were high of kindness and gratitude …ok, so maybe there did mind.

Luckily Emmajane had connections and snuck a ‘Thank You’ button on the intranet. She didn’t wait for comms, governance of HR to approve it, she snuck it on there (oh enviable joy). This allowed a fair experiment. Nothing was communicated about the button’s why or how. When HSBC employees spotted this button, and clicked on it, it directed them to a Thank You wall, and they were asked who in the organisation they’d like to thank, and prompted to write said note. Just as anticipated, being grateful and appreciating others was contagious at HSBC. Emmajane shared a significant anecdote that without instructs as to how and why and when to use the Thank You button that had appeared, some people email HR to check it was ok to send a Thank You note.

To follow the speakers we had ‘Open-Mic’ where Matt invited us to take the mic for a strictly timed 60 seconds (signified by a bike horn), to share a story about how we changed/created/impacted upon culture. After all this listening I was excited and eager to talk so I raised my hand and shared a short story about WhatsApp and the team I lead.  Others followed and I appreciated that those who took the mic time for a very long question or soap box were re-asked to share a story. (Trying hard not to go off on a facilitation tangent here…for another log).

Live blogging is a fascinating learning experience for me, but i also enjoy the space and time to reflect – which slow blogging also fulfils. The more I reflect on the day, the conversations, the speakers, the more I’m thinking; the more I know and the more I don’t know. It was brill to be around none L+D people in a learning setting, as a delegate so to speak. Out of my comfort zone and somewhat feeling like when I contributed things people looked at me as if I had something growing out of head – I’ve had that before, but yesterday it took me by surprise. And then even more so by how comfortable I was with being that spotty zebra. Such juicy learning. We all have our own culture.

I’m off to figure out how to sneak a Thank You button on to our intranet…or some other simple yet impactful idea of growing appreciation.

I’ll start by appreciating you for reading my blog. Thank you.