I’ve had a blog for a while, out on the edge of the blogosphere in spaces.live.com. It’s an average site, not something I’ve worked hard on to develop, to market, but I’m in this Summer Social Series sponsored by ASTD-Orange County, and the facilitator Mel Aclaro is convincing me to take my blogging efforts to the next level, and that these efforts would be best suited in a some other site. That remains to be seen, maybe the spaces.live.com site would really take off if I worked on it, but I’m liking this spot, and figure I’ll give it a try.
Mel shared that before you start a blog, you should figure out what you’re about, what you want to achieve with your blog, and who your audience will be. This is something I’ve been working on, and the timing of this seminar was serendipitous, because this means that the topical wavering I did on my last blog will effectively be culled as I begin anew.
I decided that my blog focus would be: when is training not training?
With some reflection, I came to realize that that’s a rather cynical view of training. There are many misguided training opportunities, to be sure, and the cynic in me delights in pointing them out. But there are just as many opportunities to learn from the things around us.
I recall a series of Wachovia commercials (before Wachovia was bought out by Wells Fargo) that asked: “What can we learn from…?” The narrator would call out some event, creature, or whatnot, and then come to life-affirming conclusions based upon the behaviors of that creature or the people at the event. Those commercials highlighted that one can learn from the world around one’s self, providing one pays attention.
As I type this, I think about when my first training job. I was more of a SME than a trainer, eager to prove my worth. I was listening to one of the company managers complain about all the things that were wrong with her department, and responded casually to several of them: “Oh, that’s a training issue.”
She glared at me and responded to each comment: “No, it’s not.”
What can I learn from a manager who knows her processes enough that she relies upon herself to address performance issues? I could learn how she identified department goals, how she translated what she was trying to achieve into what she sought to change in her organization. I could learn what she viewed training’s role in her department was. Perhaps I could learn how to communicate her point of view to the managers I work with today.
There’s a world of people learning all around you. What can you learn from them?