One of the questions I get asked often by people looking to employ my services is, “How do we work together?” So I thought I’d share my answer here.
One of the difficult things I’ve gone through in the last two years as an independent consultant is exactly defining the one thing that I most love to do which is distinctive, unique and different from other service providers. It must also be aligned with my own knowledge and experiences of how I personalised learning so that I could share my own story and experience with others so that they too, make their own journey.
Walking the Talk Is Important To Me
It is critical that with all my work with clients that I “walk-the-talk”.
So every tool I talk about to my clients about is one in which I’ve experimented and used in a learning context. I can understand how this tool may or may not work within the environment you have for the needs and purposes you want it for.
Every reference I provide you has been one that I have used and referenced myself in my work.
Every contact I give you is someone of my own personal learning network whom I know, like and trust.
As such, it is important for me to help my client solve their problems by using two aspects that I enjoy the most and they are:
- Consulting for businesses who want to enable more social collaboration in the workplace and/or;
- Personal coaching for individuals who want to learn how to use social tools to learn faster so that they could work smarter (especially on how to help people find their own solutions to performance problems through taking development into their own hands, sharing their work and learning in public).
Difficult Yes, Impossible No.
Sometimes that’s difficult because everyone has their own perception of what they need to close performance gaps in the workplace. Business managers, team leaders, individuals and even Learning and Development teams have their own concepts and ideas on what is needed.
- To Learning and Development – it’s building capability through designing and delivering formal training programs.
- To Change Managers – it’s rolling out organisation-wide transformation change programs.
- To Team Leaders, it’s undertaking formal counselling or peer reviews with their team members.
- To Managers and Leaders, it’s more restructuring, outsourcing or making roles and processes redundant that aren’t adding strategic value.
- To the individual, it’s making sure the organisation provides them with the adequate access, tools, equipment and resources to do their job to the best of their abilities; and then leave them alone (ie trust them) so they can get on with the job.
But too often, organisations don’t look to their own people, their skills, talents, networks, and experience on how to solve their problem and close performance gaps; or indeed support them to learn behaviours that will make them more productive at work such as personal learning, network building and sense-making. Instead, they impose top-down solutions on an already change fatigued workforce.
So with this organisational situation, I like to work together with business people, or with teams – inside or outside of Learning and Development – who want to work, learn and connect with others to come up with solutions to problems in unique, simple and innovative ways. That is, take action in their own hands to inspire the change they want in the workplace.
Nothing is Impossible When We Work and Learn Together
This means that we will work closely together because you want to be open to learning yourself. To take risks, to give something a go, to experiment and to openly share the experience with others in or outside your organisation (work out loud) so that you can then lead, role model and inspire change to others in your organisation.
It may mean we blog and vlog our working together. It may mean we share the results of our project to the public such as what Michelle Ockers (@Michelle Ockers) and I did for our work together at Coca-Cola Amatil for the Work, Connect and Learn Program. If you’re concerned about this, we can start small by sharing our work to just your organisation on your enterprise social network.
…With little steps, big things come!
Regardless, it’s a great way to put into practice the very things that will enable you to learn socially, build your networks and tap into new ideas and insights across your organisation.
Yes I know that to some this is a daunting prospect because it makes us both accountable in the open – but without risk, there’s no learning. Without learning, we’re both falling behind.
We must all be continually learning.
After all, social learning is all about learning and working together. So our working relationship should reflect the same. That is, it should be a social learning experience in itself.
What If We’re Not Ready to Work Like This Together? Any Other Options?
However, if I can give a word of advice, don’t look at these as the ultimate solutions for solving your performance problems. They won’t. Think of them instead as simply introductions that get your people thinking and talking about how they can apply the learning and make their own meaning for their own work.
The real work comes from applying and contextualising that learning with a real world business problem and together, coming up with a solution.
The easy thing is to buy a workshop. The hardest thing is to make the learning stick and then use it to transform yourself and your business.
Here’s How I Work With You
In this workshop, we define your goals, the approach, the key players, roles and responsibilities, deliverables and requirements. We scope out the performance gap and determine what you prefer ‘future state’ to look like for you. In this consultation, I scope out your requirements and use the time to ask questions on what you would like to achieve.
During our time together, we will explore various aspects and devise recommendations for actions. At the end of this consultation, you will receive a report of recommendations. You can choose to stop here or alternatively engage me to undertake a deeper analysis of your business.
If you accept this, I will do another proposal that outlines how we will identify business user cases for workforce collaboration and social learning. You can choose to have me design and develop your social learning program or provide coaching to your selected team members in your Learning and Development team. These recommendations, of course, are on a case-by-case basis consistent with your needs and budget.
How Some Clients Have Worked With Me?
These have been many and varied. I’ve had clients who wanted me to:
- Design and development their guided social learning programs
- Be their personal “Social Media” coach where they use my services to ask me specific questions about social media, social learning and networking, digital tools for learning; curation and community management
- Give them ideas on how to encourage knowledge sharing and collaboration in their work teams
- Build a Community of Practice
- Write content such as e-books or performance support checklists on social learning
- Give feedback and advice on how to incorporate social learning into their current organisational learning strategy
- Introduce them to my connections and networks
- Moderate their online communities (I do not provide this service unless I have been involved in the design and development of the same social learning program, however, I do provide training for your people to do this).
- Deliver in-house series of workshops and webinars on:
- How To Use Twitter to Build Professional Networks;
- How to Manage Online Communities
- How to Start and Write a Blog
- How to Create Short Videos
- How to Curate Content
- How to Work Out Loud Using Open and Enterprise Social Media and Networks
In effect, much of what I can help you with relate to digital capabilities and skills required for workforce collaboration, content creation and curation and social networking.
These skills are critical regardless if you are a Learning Development Manager, a Business Banker, a Mortgage Broker, a Lawyer, an Auditor, Risk Analyst, IT Manager, whoever.
So hopefully this has explained the breadth of my services. If you would like more information, please feel free to contact me.