Funny business

Another excellent and very funny post from Ryan. Don’t forget to watch the videos.

E-Learning Provocateur

Do you find yourself going to too many meetings? Or to meetings that don’t really achieve anything? I know I do.

Like many large organisations around the world, my employer is not immune to that most insidious of diseases: the ineffective meeting.

However, unlike other organisations that prefer to sweep the problem under the carpet, I’m proud to say that ours has chosen to tackle it head on. The term “proud” might seem somewhat of an over statement, but allow me to put it into context…

You see, in Australian terms at least, the company I work for is old. And with age comes a reputation for being risk averse, compliant, not really innovative, but big and safe. Perhaps we are some or all of those things, but in any case I think it sells us short.

I’ve been employed by the company for a while now, and I…

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The Australian Training Awards and the importance of VET

As a lot of you are already aware I attended the Australian Training Awards last week and was fortunate enough to named as the winner of the Leadership in VET Quality  for 2013.

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These awards really are a night of celebration for the Vocational Education and Training industry in Australia and the support shown by various Australian Governments over the last 20 years has been amazing, as has the work of the wonderful and equally amazing Training Awards team.  They do a stunning job each year and deserve as much congratulations as the winners and finalists.

There is something far more important than just a celebration going on here though, particularly for the Students (apprentices, trainee’s etc).  This night is something that both changes lives and puts a spotlight the quality of vocational education in this country.  If you have any doubt of the quality of training in this country and the fact that it is of such immense important to the students we interact with then you need to go and watch the videos on this page.  Real Stories Real Achievements.  It is also a shame that a lot of you won’t hear the stories straight from the mouths of last years winners of the changes in their lives that the awards and their qualifications have bought them;  from starting their own business and being and agribusiness ambassador to Argentina and Russia to packing up their bags straight after the awards to go to England and Europe to work in some of the biggest and best hairdressing salons in Europe.

Qualifications change lives, the work we do with our students, be they school based or mature aged makes a real difference, it allows them to do things and have careers that some of them would never have had access to without their qualifications and the support of their teachers and trainers and everyone else in the industry.

People whinge and moan about the state of the VET industry in this country, but if you want to see the state of the industry, the importance of it and how much of a difference it makes you have to look no further than the results of the Australian Training Awards.

HR and Diversity

Another really good post from Sukh. My organisation is one that has a huge level of diversity across most of it areas of work, including HR, which I have noticed for us means that we don’t often talk able diversity, simply because it is part of our day to day life, our corporate DNA so to speak. What I do find interesting is that Sukh has hit the nail on the head, when I think about my networks and connections and the conferences I attend outside of the organisation. We are all for the most past, either white middle aged men or women. I am not sure however that this means that diversity doesn’t matter to HR or that if diversity did matter HR would look very different. It might mean that as a profession we are not working hard enough to encourage people from diverse backgrounds not only to enter the profession but to want to share their experiences at conferences and such and work towards leadership roles. I agree that we should reach out more and do more to encourage people from diverse backgrounds and not just for legislative reasons or the like, but because highly diverse workplaces can really encourage different ways of thinking and doing things.

Thinking About Learning

After an enjoyable couple of days at the CIPD Annual Conference and Exhibition, I’m quite buoyed about the growing understanding amongst HR professionals to innovate their practice, and how to make their practice more human centred. There were great stories from companies who insist on their managers being of the same level and with no extra pay than the people reporting into them, stories of companies who gave their staff breakfast everyday, stories of purposeful mentoring programmes to help women achieve senior levels, and stories of how to cultivate managers to be their best authentic selves.

And as I reflect, I’m struck at just how far down the agenda diversity is. Not in terms of the conference or exhibition – there were a good range of topics to address diversity, and a good number of exhibitors who were concerned about raising awareness of various topics about diversity.

Here are the…

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Can you teach innovation and entrepreneurial skills

So, Can you?

I have read a number of articles recently were Governments, business and various luminaries have suggested that what we need to be doing more of, what we need to be teaching more of is how to be innovative, how to entrepreneurial, however, and this is my sticking point here, can we actually teach these skills or more importantly, if we can teach a set of skills with we deem to be entrepreneurial skills them will that actually make people more entrepreneurial.  Will teaching people ‘innovation’ skills lead to more and greater innovation or more innovators.

My answer – I am really not sure.

 What makes me not sure is something very simple, is there something about, truly great innovators, entrepreneurs, and even leaders that isn’t teachable.  Even if we can distill what makes a true innovator down to a set of definable skills, which we can impart to others, will the people we impart the skills to become truly great innovators or do they need something else.

Not everyone who plays sport (no matter how much they train) will go on to be the best in the world, or even approach being the best in the world, or even their country or state.  Why, well, for a range of reasons, genetics for one, luck, environment, other people, there are a range of reasons.  Do they gain skills and knowledge through the process yes, does that make them an athlete, maybe, does it make them a truly great athlete, probably not.

I have seen lots of people struggle through courses and programs, Leadership, Innovation Entrepreneurship and other such topics, because their employer wanted to them to, they had to have it move forward in their careers, or they had been marketed the hype that these courses would really teach them how to be innovative.  Did it work? In some cases probably, but in a lot of cases, they went back to their roles, they continued their jobs, they did what they were good at, and were successful at it.  They were successful at it because it was what they were good at or what they enjoyed.

Teaching someone entrepreneurial skills, who is really not interested in being entrepreneurial, seems to me, like a lot of these sorts of training to be a real waste of time and resources, and even more so if it turns out that we can’t really teach people how to be entrepreneurial in the first place.

What Candy Crush Saga Teaches Us about Training

Being someone who is a big fan of CCS and who is married to someone who is an even bigger fan, I love this article.

The Pathway to Joy

I’m on level 202 on Candy Crush Saga currently.  I have spent a lot of time getting there.  I am hooked.  And I don’t like to be hooked on anything.  So, I spent some time thinking about why I like CCS and I realized that CCS is a great example of an excellent training program.  Try to follow me here…

Candy Crush Saga starts out simple:  match the candies and they disappear and you win.  Then, obstacles are introduced and you learn to overcome those obstacles.  Next comes harder obstacles (I hate those chocolate-making thingies), but you learn to overcome those.  In other words, Candy Crush Saga teaches us the skills we need along the way to be successful at the next level of obstacles.

AHA!  That is why I am hooked!  I get positive outcomes from the game the more I play!  And the game literally coaches me along…

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