Saturday, 29 November 2008

Interesting Links (December 2008)

A Practical Guide for Developing Leaders

Here's a practical guide for developing leaders provided by Dan McCarthy, adapted from June Delano, a colleague of his, now with Monitor Executive Development.

While the guide does not include everything a leader needs to learn, it does offer ideas for developing people before and during new leadership assignments.

Related to this I'd also recommend (re)reading The Leadership Pipeline by Charan et al

Standing in the rain - linked to Lessons in Leadership ?!

Here is a thought provoking post from HBR's Vineet Nayar - which is likely to resonate with all parents who stand on the  football pitch touchline in all weather at weekends !

"There is a forgotten lesson we leaders can learn here as we deal with the thundering rain in the world of business right now.

Once you are wet, the fear of getting wet is over and you start enjoying the rain. With the fear gone, you return to your work with unmitigated enthusiasm. However, if you freeze indoors because of rain, there is no way you will reach anyplace."

Top 100 Tools for Learning

Jane Hart provides a clear & simple list of the on-line tools being used around the world to learn, network and communicate.

Running Learning as a Business 

Here is a helpful short video from David Vance former President of the Caterpillar Corporate University on the need to run L&D 'as a business' to gain credibility & traction within an organisation.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Learning Technologies 2009 - reflection on the Nov. '08 magazine

The UK Learning Technologies conference series is fast approaching its 10th year.  I'm delighted to be involved in the forthcoming 2009 event, contributing on Driving adoption - the value of partnering with HR.

As a previous attendee, I've always looked forward to receiving the associated magazines - sent out in the run up to the conference.  This year is no exception - and I've just found time to read the November issue (the first of three in the run up to the 2009 conference).

I find it interesting that: the topic is technologies and the contributors are among those thought-leaders I follow on-line, and yet there is still something helpful about getting the content in paper format.  I'm not sure I can explain this - but it may have something to do with the amount of content visible on a single page vs. screen. I find myself scanning across the columns, making connections etc in a less linear fashion than when on-line.

A few key quotes that attracted my attention

Donald Taylor - "Skills Finally Matter ... Differentiation now has just one source: people ... The oft repeated phrase 'people are our most important asset' is not quite on the money.  An organisation's most important asset is what its people can do: their skills and knowledge."

Jane Hart - "The social aspect of learning has often been missing from on-line learning initiatives up to now .... in all areas, the sharing of knowledge and experiences by learners is invaluable."

Jay Cross - "invent-as-you go learning".

Clive Shepherd - "Learning 2.0: Learners in this context are just people looking to get things done and using their initiative to overcome any obstacles in the way (like being short of information or not knowing how to go about doing something)."

This is just the 'tip of the iceberg' from the content provided.

My Reflections:

As Nigel Paine states "ultimately learners need to take control of their own learning destinies and use the resources available to maintain and develop their skills and competence" ... and clearly Web 2.0 technologies have made it much easier to do this. 

Equally, I'm not confident that we will reach a 'tipping point' where the benefits of proactive workplace-centred life-long learning  are accepted by a significant majority.  The classic Change Management article 'Change or Die' highlights the challenge of changing human behaviour - however logical and beneficial it is.  

So I feel we need to be careful not to to be lulled into a sense of complacency that 'if we build it they will come'.  Maybe, rather than talking about a shift to self-directed learning, we need to think more about partnership - where the organisation is focused on motivating colleagues to partner with them on investing in their unique learning journeys.

With learning technologies, we need to understand the range of motivations that fuel an individual's enthusiasm to use them - and help reinforce this. 

There are somewhere in the region of 4 million managers in the UK ... what would it take to get 400,000 (10%) periodically publishing their reflections/insights as blogs/slideshare content etc, 2 million (50%) actively maintaining their professional networks via linkedin, and 3 million (75%) using an RSS reader for work-related feeds ?   

Monday, 3 November 2008

Interesting Links (November 2008)

Leadership: 109 Movies that Inspire

From the Totally Consumed blog here is a great post on the leadership themes that are well illustrated by classic movies.

These include:

  • Apollo 13 (1999) Problem-solve & team work.
  • Braveheart (1996) Cultivate your vision and others will follow
  • Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) With responsibility, comes accountability
  • Dead Poets Society (1989) Words are powerful, use them wisely
  • Ground Hog Day (1993) Do it right the first time.
  • Lord of the Flies (1990) Never underestimate what people are capable of.
  • It’s a Wonderful Life (1947) It’s about who we are, not what we own.
for the other 102 see the original post !


Richard Branson on Success

When we place too high a value on achievement and fulfillment, we often overlook the important parts of life like character, relationships and service. Richard Branson made a profound statement on success in his book, Business Stripped Bare. The last sentence may take a few reads for its implications to soak in.
Successful people aren’t in possession of secrets known only to themselves. Don’t obsess over people who appear to you to be “winners”, but listen instead to the wisdom of people who’ve led enriching lives—people, for instance, who’ve found time for friends and family. Be generous in your interpretation of what success looks like. The best and most meaningful lives don’t always end happily.

Making learning 'stick' - the role of the manager

Chris Morgan on his blog provides a clear and concise article on the role of the manager in making learning stick.

A good manager will be regularly monitoring progress. A great manager will have agreed specific tasks and/or assignments that will force the employee to apply the new behaviours.