Showing posts from 2016

My Learning Year

Lots of people have predicted that pub quizzes of the future are going to be very easy. For every ‘In what year...?’ question, just say 2016, and the chances are, your answer will be correct.
I think most of the people I know are pretty much agreed that 2016 has been an awful year, and it may well be the precursor to several miserable years to follow - for world politics, stability and economies. I have to confess that a lot of the time, I just don’t know what to think in this era of information overload, post truth and fake news. Am I wrong to put some things into the ‘too difficult’ box? Does that make me a bad person? I could go on at length about this, and just succeed in tying myself up in knots.
So, what can I do? What can we do? Lots of little things, acts of kindness and generosity, taking care to do the things you do have control over carefully and thoughtfully, sharing… I thought it might be good to reflect on what I have learned this year, positively, and to share this using …

The HR Car Park

This is a blog about inter-professional envy, wishful thinking and possible unrealistic, if not downright fanciful, aspirations.
A few weeks ago, our Estates and Facilities Director pressed the start button for car park expansion works to begin. There had been a certain amount of trepidation leading up to this point, and a fair bit of dread about disruption during the works. I certainly felt this personally. A commute of 1 hour and 10 minutes at best (not enough hours in the day to accommodate public transport if I want to have a job and a life) had meant anxiety for the final stretch. Would I be able to park when I arrived? Would my working day start well, therefore? Or would I feel flustered (no spaces) and take some time to feel that I’d got off the back foot before I felt fully functional and productive?
To his eternal credit, the works went really smoothly. The contractors delivered on time, work was phased, disruption was minimal and my colleague communicated exactly what was happ…


A bridge too far?
A bridge over troubled waters?
Bridging the gap
One of the wonderful things about my new(ish) role is learning all about the work our volunteers do, and having our Volunteering Manager in my team. She is a person who oozes Emotional Intelligence and she is helping me to learn about the differences in approach to how we treat staff and volunteers. I had an appreciation of this already (and I’m a volunteer myself in various capacities) but it is even more finely nuanced than I thought. Or is it?
Well yes, contractually of course, but when it comes to how you treat people and show them they are valued in ways that have meaning for them? Something to think about…
Anyway, last week we were discussing the dreaded topic of policies. She had recently been talking to a group of geographically dispersed first line managers, whose teams include lots of volunteers. There can be an understandable nervousness about how to approach a ‘difficult’ conversation with a volunteer who may hav…

Social Leadership Handbook Review

Julian Stodd was kind enough to send me a preview copy of the Social Leadership Handbook. Although social leaders give freely, with no expectation of reciprocity, I feel that the least I can do in return is to write a review, having tweeted my way through the book as well.
I LOVE this book and I want all of my colleagues to read it to so we can ask some of the superb questions of our organisation suggested as the NET model is explored. One has ordered her own copy already – also to read on holiday as I did, and I’m ordering some more to gift to people. Paradoxically, I can’t bear to lend my copy out, as I know I’ll keep returning to sections to re-read and reflect, yet I haven’t written my name in it – as I don’t want to appear to claim ownership. If that sounds odd, it may seem less so once you have read it, and some of the excellent #WorkOutLoud blogs Julian Stodd and Seasalt Learning share so freely.

So, why did I love the ideas contained within this book so much? Well, I can only …

LnD Insight Reflection

Today I was the #ldinsight facilitator. It was a more contentious discussion than usual. I’ve thought about it quite a lot over the course of the day, and have yet to do the Storify. I want to write about why I do this, why I chose the question, my feelings during the chat and what I learned from today’s range of responses. Whilst my feelings are still fresh.
I am one of a small group of volunteer facilitators because I value the discussion, and get quite a lot of learning and reflection from it, or I wouldn’t do it. Coming up with questions is the fun part. Scheduling the tweets is a chore. Facilitating is what you choose to make of it – from leaving it to run through to asking follow up questions etc. We have discussions in our private admin group. An important question recently has been about inclusivity. How do we encourage new voices? A lot of the participants know each other quite or very well from Twitter, and in many cases in real life as well. I wonder if this leads to some sh…

Drink after work, anyone?

Disclaimer No 1: I’m doing something in writing this blog that I would normally frown upon. Reacting to our soundbite culture. Disclaimer No 2: I’m also reacting to one of my top two red flags. One is ‘we’ve always done it this way’ and the other is the use of ‘mother/mum’ when the term ‘parent’ should be used. The 2nd applies in this case. Disclaimer No 3: I am about as disengaged from the ‘divorced from reality’ Labour leadership contest as it is possible to be (which is very sad, but I really can’t let my head explode.)

So yes, I have reacted the ridiculous notion that after work drinks should be banned, as they could discriminate against working ‘mothers’! What? Are the following practices/actvities that fall outside of standard childcare times also heading for the ‘should be banned’ list? Early shiftsLate shiftsNight shiftsWeekend working24-hour away day eventsBreakfast meetingsMeetings in London that require an early trainWork football teams, quiz teams, choirs etc.
And what about al…

Music for a lifetime

A few days ago, I was nominated on Facebook to post a song from the 1970s every day for 7 days. For once a Facebook ‘challenge’ that interested me, and would be fun. So I went ahead, more or less followed the ‘rules’ and nominated a few people as I went along. As it’s late on a Bank Holiday I’m being frivolous and turning it into a blog. As most of us sharing the songs we loved are around 50 now, it was a fascinating decade to choose from (young child to mid-teens), and as I am so nosy (I mean interested in other people’s lives and loves) the autobiographical element was great. My main dilemma was either choosing stuff I could remember from the late 70s or selecting classics I grew to love when I was older.
So here we go with my 7 choices, and to make up a little for missing out whole genres (this decade probably had the most variety of pop and rock ever) I’ve noted each day what one or two friends chose.
Day 1 It was obvious that Bowie would be included, but not on day 1, because choosi…

Something on Communication and Language at work

How do we like to be communicated with at work?
What catches our attention?
And sustains it?
When do we feel that we are having grown up dialogue?
What makes us feel that we are going to be heard?
How do we know we’ve heard the message the way it was intended and vice versa?
So very many questions I could ask in this vein…
I love words, their meanings and roots, and a lot of the stimulation for me to write comes from parts of conversations that for whatever reason, really resonate with me. I’ve blogged before on certain words, and this time, I’ve had blog ideas swirling around on how we put them together and how much difference this can make to ultimate meanings and interpretations.
Three conversations happened this week to spark the thoughts that follow. Two were face to face and one on Twitter. The latter was with David Hayden, who has just written a thoughtful blog on ‘hope’, ‘try’ and ‘should’ Should L&D Try and Abandon All Hope?(favourite word of HR Policies – but that’s another blog…

L&D Connect Unconference – Bristol version – 22 Sept 2016

An invigorating day of learning and talking about what matters to us about learning at work.For anyone who works in L&D, Training or similar (or who doesn’t but has a deep interest) who can get to a Bristol based venue.Informal, participant led event, where the people who matter are in the room.Opportunity to link up to people having similar chats in other UK and international venues.No rigid timetables, no sages on stages, no workshop lotteries.Chances to try out new discussion formats – open space, fishbowls etc.Loads of content to mull over and reflect upon for weeks afterwards.Great opportunity to meet people, who are also passionate about learning, from different sectorsI’ve tried to sum up above the essence of an Unconference. I’m also adding links to 2 blogs about previous Unconferences. I've chosen two that also link to others, including one by yours truly. All who've attended before seem to love to discuss, reflect, share ideas. I'm confident a browse through …

Several thousand bananas, flapjacks and jelly babies.

Here is my 3rd and final blog about the Ride for Precious Lives. It’s a long one, as befits a long 3-day challenge!
If you were kind enough to read the first 2, and to offer your support, you will know how much trepidation I felt about this physically daunting event; in fact, how terrified I was, especially as I knew I had not trained enough. Although I sit here just over 48 hours later starting to recover from ceasing up completely, with aching legs, swollen ankles, various insect bites, bramble scratches from Cornish hedgerows etc. I cannot express just how it feels to have done something so physically demanding for the sort of charity I hope no-one I know and love ever has to use, and yet am so happy exists for those who do need this kind of support.
Pre day 1, we were driven down to St Austell from just south of Bristol by one of my husband, Ray’s colleagues. And here the volunteering began – our driver was not taking part but did his bit by borrowing a van to take the luggage and …