It’s hard to imagine that four months have flown by since joining Adopt & Embrace as one of their Adoption Consultants on a part-time basis and it’s been an interesting, entertaining and educational ride for me.
When I think back to what I have learned in my time there, it comes down to these two points:
(a) Understanding the product and services that we offer; and,
(b) Working in a remote and virtual team and managing myself and my time around my work commitments.
The first point is relatively easy. There’s no other way but for me to get in there and continually ask questions to my colleagues and learn about how they’re handling the same things. My colleagues are more than helpful and as they come from different backgrounds and industries, they provide me with insight and perspectives I hadn’t considered. I feel privileged working with them.
I’m also a relatively structured person (despite me coming across as flippant and having the attention of a goldfish) so I have put my personal knowledge mastery skills into practice into this role.
I have been spending time outside of work doing my own research and learning of the Microsoft products after years of using Google and Apple and other third-party tools and apps.
My focus was to, at all times, try and use ALL the Microsoft products I have at my disposal (we have access to everything), and stay within the Microsoft ecosphere so that I can best learn how to use the tools. I’m FORCING myself to use Microsoft.
For example, I do all my search within Microsoft Edge (and use the different functions such as annotation, read view, favourites); curate and take notes in OneNote; and sense make across in Yammer probably at the annoyance of my colleagues when I ramble on and create long posts (okay, I also use this WordPress site too). I create content as much as possible figuring out how I can do things in Microsoft and stumbling upon things like 3D Maps as well as capturing screencasts through X-Box (not ideal, I went back to Camtasia) and MS Stream (another underutilised platform in my belief).
Learning Microsoft also has been through the abundant Microsoft resources and their communities online, connecting with Microsoft experts through Twitter, as well as LinkedIn Learning which is also connected with Microsoft. (Ok, YouTube also because let’s face it, it’s brilliant).
Call it my personal “Microsoft Immersion” program.
My first focus was to learn the suite of Microsoft products focussing on those that clients use the majority of their team – and that’s MS Outlook primarily, followed by Win10, the Surface Pro and over the next few months, I’ll start to focus on OneNote and MS Teams.
Yes, I had to RELEARN MS OUTLOOK!
(You’re probably all horrified but when the majority of workers out there use this only as their main communication and collaboration tool, they need to learn new skills to manage it and their time which hopefully, will free up some time to be OPEN to learning about other more social means of communication. Before that happens, you’re wasting your breath).
However, there’s also a part of me that wants to learn the Surface Hub inside out. I’m beginning to see Surface Hubs popping up everywhere but actually haven’t seen anyone using these beyond just a projection of their video conference. Part of me would like to design some specific 1 hour activity for Adopt & Embrace where I work with the business to look at a particular business process and identify a meeting where it’s going to be about real-time virtual collaborative problem solving – who knows – it could be a business simulation – and get people to use the Surface Hub in ways they hadn’t considered by throwing at them all sorts of pesky problems that they need to work out within the hour (not including a debrief). (Just an unformed idea at this stage).
Yesterday I was looking at this diagram. It’s Microsoft’s Inner and Outer Look of “where work gets done”. I believe it was created because people continually ask them “what tool do I use when, where and why?” (I’m always asked this question too).
As I looked at this diagram, I noticed that “Social Learning” is sitting in the Outer Loop and wonder why it’s sitting there. My second thought was, “does anyone actually know what it is?” Social Learning in fact, could really be sitting in the Inner loop and extend outwards.
Given my work on social learning for the last few years and what I’ve been sharing on this website about the topic, I’m not too fussed about learning MS Teams and Yammer especially with the latter one as this has been a focus of mine trying to enable Learning and Development departments to see the value of social with these platforms with varying levels of success.
Despite creating programs on how L&D can incorporate social learning initiatives, programs and tasks into the workflow (you can see these in this website under Services), I still believe that these departments are still some way off from this especially when they themselves, are not using these platforms nor understand their value.
However, I’ve also learned something else – they’re not alone. They’re not the only departments who don’t see the value.
So for the moment, I have parked my writing and my sharing of social learning activities, reflections and considerations because I believe that the majority of organisations are still focussed on the “core” aspect of their business.
This explains why I have been so quiet here on my blog about social learning because it’s not front of mind for business nor is it front of mind for Learning and Development.
(Instead, I have been using that time to explore creativity in content creation where the creation comes from the INDIVIDUAL and NOT pushed down from a particular department. That is, how to create employee generated content that engages, inspires and shares the worker’s voice and experiences in their own unique way. From what I have seen is that if people share their work, thinking and experiences in their own way, this contributes to social learning but it encourages participation and contribution. For now, I’m having fun learning how to create these video stories and try to REFRAIN from TELLING people what to do and how to do it but encouraging people to TRY things for themselves through role modelling and supportive networking. Who knows what route this will take me down but it may be very different to when I started Activate Learning Solutions).
Talking “social learning” is not only irrelevant, but it’s also meaningless for them until they really come to terms with what’s happening in the Inner loop and start doing these behaviours for themselves. That includes departments like Learning and Development.
At the moment, many workers are still in the “education” stage where they need guidance, help and support through knowing how to interact and collaborate with the tools that they use every day. There’s going to be lots of mindset and behaviour changes that have been ingrained from years of work.
My other realisation is that I need to “drop down a level or three” and take their hands and actually SHOW them what’s possible using workplace and business process scenarios they understand before they are even in the position to consider alternatives.
I’ve got my work cut out for me but for now, it’s back to basics and I’m okay with that.
Brad Grissom, Where Work Gets Done: A New Loop Analogy for Modern Work
This blog post by Helen Blunden was written in Melbourne, Australia and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.