Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The goldfish, the baby and the cat

A speaker at a session gave this analogy recently and I just loved it.

He said,

Imagine a goldfish swimming in a bowl. The goldfish represents a new idea in the organization. 

The cat is outside, watching the goldfish. The cat wants to kill the goldfish (the idea)

The baby is outside, watching the goldfish. The baby is curious - wants to know more, do more.

All to often, manages end up being the cat, while they should really be the baby!

Beautiful analogy, I thought.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The e-learning conundrum

So, what about e-learnings?

The trouble with e-learnings is that they are too linear. One dimensional. Given what we saw about live trainings, e-learnings rarely offer any of them. So, how to make e-learning more interesting.

The answer lies partially in the name. The level of interaction e-learning offers is quite low - as compared to an online learning or a live virtual session where the interaction is much higher.

So, e-learnings can be used to up a point - which is the 10% - substitute a part of the classroom  training with an e-learning.

It does not provide the interaction that a classroom does - so try and see if that can be done.

The other thing an e-learning can do is to become like games - and I am not saying gamify - the question is how to make it challenging.

Can an e-learning become more non-linear - give a different outcome depending on how one interacts with it? So that each time you interact with it (like a game), your outcome is slightly different and you feel challenged each time.

IF you just want a linear course, why not just use a video or a podcast?

Live Training

Five days of live training - and then you realise why an e-learning done in the way e-learnings are traditionally done just doesnt cut it.

No, it is not about interaction, engagement and all that - while that exists. It is also not about jazzy content. It is not about making people do unintellectual activities in the name of engaging the audience.

And all these 5 days, there were none of those irritating energizers, no bullshit.

So what makes a great live training? These are my observations:

Dont get me a trainer - get me a person who has been there done that, or done research into what she has come to talk to me about. So, I get real answers, not hypothetical.

Build on my knowledge - you may be an expert trainer, but do not underestimate what I bring to the table. Get groups to work, bring out collective knowledge. Use what I know and build on it.

Show me something I have not seen despite all that I know - you may be an expert, but you still need to make me think and make me do and then show me an outcome. Let me come up with an insight.


Give- give your assets, give them something to work on , give them something to carry back (not useless workbooks though), give them something to mull over.

Technology does not matter - Jazzy presentations do not matter. What matters is just value addition. I got back thinking, yes, I learnt something here.

Elicit learning - make them think, ask questions, probe, prod, push and let them get the answers...

Come with more than your slides - meaning, if all you know is in those slides, it is a disaster. Your slides are a small sliver of your knowledge - feel free to use it when those unprecedented questions hit you.

In summary, Great Knowledge and great facilitation - it is not so much about facilitation or about knowledge, but a real interaction of both. One without the other is useless.

Friday, November 21, 2014

A map of strategy concepts


Got the above image from here.

It was explained to me at a session, but I googled to see if there was an actual map that depicted all the strategy concepts.

I have nothing more to add on this, but the thought process intrigued me!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Mintzberg triangle

At a recent training, someone spoke about the Mintzberg triangle. I located it here. Image from that page reproduced here.

The page linked above has a better explanation of diagram above, but what intrigued me was that the triangle exists for practically anything.

The facilitator referred to this in the context of facilitation. Of how facilitation has science, craft and art to it.

That is so true,  I thought. Worth a thought!

Need to read of Mintzberg though...

Accents and all that

Sitting in a room filled with as many English accents as people. I could not help but wonder about how some people are obsessed with getting rid of Mother Tongue Influence in India.

Call me an ignoramus, but I think this focus on so called mother tongue influence is all wrong.

Nobody, no f8ing body wants to hear your goddamn accent you perfected somewhere. They are here to hear your skill, what you bring to the table, what is your role in solving the problem they have.

Whether you speak with a mother tongue influence or not has no bearing whatsover in the process. Whether you solve a problem has a major bearing in the process.

Imagine a situation where the person speaks perfect English but ruins your work. Hope that helps.

Almost anybody focussed on this mother tongue influence bullshit is getting it wrong. What is need is more skills not more language.

(There are exceptions, like call centres who want to pretend that they are located in Louisiana while being located in Ludhiana or if you are giving a voice over to a foreign audience and suchlike, but otherwise, well...)

The language is about putting lipstick on a pig. The question really is, is that a pig you want or something else?

End of rant. Earlier rant, here.

On Relationship

Build relationships, network they tell you. (Business context all through)

If  you have a great relationship you can absorb a lot of shocks.

Sounds good, but it sounds a bit like the event manager who thinks he can get away with crappy work because he knows the guy who controls the purse strings. While this is true and people did work like this once upon a time, it is a process that is not sustainable.

Here comes the training guy asking the same questions again and again. Here comes the training guy asking for a meeting again. You see where this is going.

Relationships are a by-product.

Read that again. Relationship is not a hi-bye relationship, but something that is a result of visceral engagement and solving a business problem. If you solved a business problem, you have a relationship.

It is like buying a product. Each time you bought the product, the product delivered. You wont buy a product that does not deliver.

Ditto for relationships.

Focus on work, relationships will follow.

I dont do relationship management, I often say, I work. If I am not having a relationship with someone, it just means, we are not doing any work for them as a team.

Just got off a conversation where a sales guy taught me how his industry was changing - and couldnt help relate to this story from my own experience.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Lego Serious Play Method

So, after a long wait and mail exchanges, I finally had a chance to attend and get certified in the Lego Serious Play Method. With an expert facilitator like Per Kristiansen and a set of diverse set of participants, the session was a lively one.

And that makes yours truly one of the few certified trainers (in India) in the said methodology.

It was something I had wanted to do for a long time, partly because I am a great fan of Lego bricks and partly because of the success of other design based interventions.

The session and the methodology did not disappoint and it was fascinating to see Per at work as a facilitator.