Formal learning, Reflective practice

Reflective Practice

How do you encourage reflection in your work life? Do you actively dedicate time to reflection or is it something you do when you realise you’ve made the same old mistake again?

In learning we know that reflection is the most important part of the process:
“We do not learn from experience… We learn from reflecting on experience” – John Dewey

Despite being someone who is pretty loud and proud of my own love of learning and the amazing things it can do for individuals and groups to help us accomplish great things… I’m surprisingly average about creating time for my own learning reflections.

This blog is one way I’ve tried to develop the habit and I am a bit of a journaler – but these things can quickly become inconvinient, or worse, habits, that have lost their meaning.

Part of my 2016 challenge (and the ‘year of the rocket’) has been to bite the bullet and enrol in my last paper for my Masters of Management. I’m hoping that throwing out that I’m doing this so regularly will help hold me accountable to the amount of work I’m going to have to put in to my research. But also a part of the paper that I really like (go Massey University!) is that 30% of my final mark is determined by a series of reflective journals. I’m interested to see how reintegrating reflective journaling practise in an academic sense impacts on my own process of awareness and learning.

Now I just need to cross my fingers and hope that good reflective practise helps spawn some amazing insights into modern workplace management and organisational development!

Thinking differently

Your Fuel Tank: Efficiency & Replenishment

Fuel Tank Empty?

On Friday I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to hear Denni Francisco (CEO of The Energy Project) at the first Vecci Breakfast seminar of the year.

Things started well – it was a breakfast seminar, and dammit, I love breakfast. What really made me excited though was the topic of discussion: energy and our capacity to manage our energy in work and life.

Since the industrial revolution everything has been about more/bigger/faster, and with the recent explosion in connectivity aided by the internet and mobile technology we are always ‘on’.

This is a topic many of us hear talked to death but The Energy Project’s unique take on things really resonated with me. I think the way this message was delivered would be a welcome change for executives who are often bombarded with these ideas, but often without real scientific backing and subsequently a lack of actionable items that are easy to embed into your life, or your business.

Instead of recapping all of Denni’s excellent points (of which there were many), I want to ask you to ponder just this:

You have an internal fuel tank. How efficiently are you using your energy?

Energy isn’t finite, it’s replenishable. What are you doing to consciously replenish yours?

 

I highly recommend checking out The Energy Project if you’re interested in exploring these ideas further – I will certainly be reflecting on how I can better manage my ‘fuel tank’ and encouraging myself to be purposeful with how I spend my energy – just like I am with how I spend my money and how I spend my time.

Thinking differently

Thinking about learning in organisations differently

So you’re in Learning & Development, or training, or Training and Development, or you are a proactive manager, business owner or a consultant… in fact, you could be just about anybody because that is who there are benefits for in understanding and taking control of you and your team’s learning in the workplace.

If you want to move away from ‘tick and flick’ learning and drive ROI (and ROE – Return on Expectation – as the knowledgeable Con Sotidis @LearnKotch puts it) then you need to start thinking about learning as an organic, ongoing, personal process that can help organisations get more out of their people (and have happier people).

Organisations that take a holistic approach not only get the feel-good-vibes associated with actually caring about their people, but they also have more committed, happier, more productive employees than other organisations. Increasing your organisation’s feel-good-vibes (and you know, that important thing that’s called your Employer Value Proposition) shouldn’t be the only thing that convinces you of this though, how about the fact that:

  • 40% of employees who receive poor job training leave their positions within the first year, that costs big bucks 1
  • Organisations in the USA that invest in learning outperform the market by more than 45% – 45%!!!!! 2
  • Your competitors are doing it – businesses increased training budgets by an average of 15% in 2013 3

Ok, so I make a pretty good case – but what does this mean for you?  

I’m all about evidence-backed change. There is no point jumping on the latest bandwagon in the interests of being seen to be doing the in thing, if that in thing doesn’t bloody work! A pet hate of mine is the overuse of the concept of ‘learning styles’ – yes learning should be enjoyable but I’ve yet to see any convincing research proving that learners playing with play-doh or throwing squishee balls at each other during a face-to-face training sessions helps ANYBODY!

Well it doesn’t have to equal a whole lot of effort. Advances in technology and the way people are using it mean that more and more there are cheap (and often free) solutions to problems that are pretty consistent across most organisations. What it does mean is that you and the decision makers that you work with, may have to readjust some assumptions you hold about learning in the workplace and how it happens.

Refs:

1 https://www.go2hr.ca/articles/employee-training-worth-investment

2 http://www.astd.org/Publications/Magazines/TD/TD-Archive/2012/11/ASTD-2012-State-of-the-Industry-Report

3 http://www.tlnt.com/2014/02/19/investing-in-employees-smart-companies-are-increasing-their-ld-budgets/