Thursday, 24 April 2014

Idea: Use a "10 Minute Tidy" in your virtual meetings!

Lives are hectic. True. And I am sure that at least once or twice a week you wake up to find your house in disarray... a half-emptied suitcase sitting open, a stack of open mail or advertisements sitting around, or wine-stained glass unwashed. No? Is that just me? :-O

It is hard to start a day working from home in those conditions. That's why when I read about the 10 Minute Tidy, I thought 'GENIUS'. Every night before getting ready for bed, do a quick 10 minute tidy and feel less cluttered in your head when you wake up the next morning. Simple.

Then the question, why don't we start implementing this rule in our virtual meetings? Save 10 minutes at the end of the meeting so everyone can reflect on the processes that have happened during the meeting or during the week. Instead of complaining about the meeting or about working from a distance, a team makes a point to tidy up loose ends, give feedback, and raise the bar for next time.

I worked with a group last month that had such a practice. They didn't call it that.. but now they do. They expressed how everyone was expected to participate. If Joe needed to leave at 11.50 instead of 12.00, the ten minute tidy started at 11.40. If they couldn't be flexible like this, Joe was expected to prioritise his team's meeting. If there was little to add, they spent time getting to know one of their team members better by sharing stories. And all of them mentioned how quickly they were able to jump into their next meeting together. Less start-up time and talking about the weather.

As research is showing us more and more, trust needs to happen quickly when meeting from a distance or our little silos become even bigger silos and since we cannot make others more trustworthy, we need to be more trustworthy ourselves. The Ten Minute Tidy gives you the opportunity to demonstrate trustworthiness. Are you honestly sharing feedback about the meeting with the team? Are you contributing with credible information? Are you reliably participating every time? These 10 minutes are an investment in trust. Anyone have a simliar practice to share? 


Christina Hogan

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Job-aids...gone crazy?!?

Just-in-time Learning is a toolbox of learning experiences that creates a pull-system in the organisation and eliminates waste. But it isn't so standardised and it isn't so time-consuming and it isn't at all boring. It is a new age of learning. It is learning when you need it and where you need it. Think job-aid.. gone crazy! (What do you think of that for a slogan?)

I started my journey with JITL by observing where motivation hit me to learn more... one day I was working in PhotoShop and couldn't manage to cut out an image. Instead of opening a monstrous book about PhotoShop or ordering the book and waiting one week, or calling and harassing a friend or reading through a million Adobe forums, I went directly to YouTube and watched a 12 year-old very pedagogically give me 3 steps to solve my problem. (for the record, yes, I began to dislike 12 year-olds and yes, I can help you cut out an image). The ease of using YouTube was key. I knew the tool, I was confident there was a smug 12 year-old out there, and I knew it would take seconds.

It isn't unlike the problems I see when working with various sales organisations. They have 1000+ products in their portfolios and they are expected to position themselves as product specialists while out in the field. And the information they get is curated from Subject Matter Experts that love what they do... and possibly the 1000000 powerpoint slides that come with it. They run a week-long course to help sales professionals and in the end, sales professionals either don't need the information because the product changes or the need for it does, they don't remember the information, the learning budget is tightened or it is simply easier to sell something less complex. There are a bundle of reasons.

That is why Lorensbergs is wrapping itself in the Just-in-Time Learning toolbox. Small snippets of knowledge, skill and motivation over a spaced amount of time. Letting the brain focus on the result instead of how and where and what information to seek. Here are our JITL principles.

How are you and your organisation getting just-in-time?


Monday, 17 March 2014

The Power of Cartoons in Learning

We've all heard the saying 'a picture paints a thousand word', what you might not be so familiar with is the research that shows how powerful imagery and cartoons can really play in helping with the creation and sharing of learning. 

One of the most powerful 'after action reviews' we ever facilitated was at the gathering of a group of change experts from several large companies who exchanged views on the key insights they had created in helping their organisations embrace continuous improvement as a way of working. We ran the session with the help of the cartoonist Graham Shaw and to this day, the participants still have a rich and vivid recall of the key why is that?

Well, there's some really interesting research regarding the power of cartoons and using them as metaphors for learning:

  1. Our brains actually interpret images concurrently whilst text on the other hand is processed linearly.
  2. This means we understand, grasp, retain and recall images and their associated meaning better than words.
  3. Research has shown that the best remembered part of any message is the cartoon
  4. Brain research suggests that using metaphors, pictures and symbols helps cement lessons and transfer learning to everyday life and future learning. A visual representation of an experience can be effective long after the experience is over, reminding a group or participant of the key lessons learned. (Willis, 2006, 2010)
Here's a sample of some of the images that captured the key lessons in leading a change in culture. Of course there's no need for a text commentary...that would defeat the object. It's enough to say that these key insights we carry with us in helping clients with complex change to this day.

So with this in mind, how can you transform your learning processes to create rich and lasting insights with cartoons and metaphors?

Happy cartooning!

Monday, 10 March 2014

Move over Just-in-Case Learning!

Here comes Just-in-Time

How many of you have noticed that while you enjoyed the two-day training programme you went to last week, you haven't really applied a lot of the theories from it...yet? You learned a lot about cultures and planning dynamic meetings and although you are immersed in culture and have non-stop meetings, you still haven't implemented the learning... where has your motivation gone? Your good intentions are just sitting there in the darkness... when does the magic of transforming them into strong behaviours happen?

Not to point fingers... but Just-in-Case learning has a bit to do with the struggle here. Yes, we need to learn things "just-in-case" as we did with second languages when we were younger or when we discover how cultures affect each other. “Just-in-case” we are in those particular situations, we will need that understanding, empathy or that skill-set to thrive. Just-in-time learning on the other hand is what you need when you are about to run out the door and pitch a product but need the product features and benefits right there and right then. You can’t wait 6 months until the course happens. And you can’t invest one week for a product you need just-in-case.

Ta da: Just-in-Time Learning! JITL is a toolbox of methods, apps, materials, job-aids, eLearnings, webinars, surveys…etc.. etc… you get the point. It is something that appears when needed, that is easy to use and when motivation is high for implementation. This concept is another way to bridge the gap between formal learning (organised with learning objectives) and informal learning (the opposite and incidental)… It is Non-Formal Learning. OECD defines “non-formal learning” as something not clearly defined, something flexible, where learning may be initiated by the learner or a by-product of an organised activity. Check out:

Whatever the weather, start the reflection… what kind of learning are you engaged with? Just-in-case… or just-in-time?

-Christina Hogan