Learning by Reflection – My L&D blogging lessons

I wrote my first blog for this site at the end of 2010: http://s0ngb1rd.posterous.com/reflections-from-the-songbird  

It was only a short post, so I’ll repost here, and I’ll tell you for why in a minute. 

In life, I wear many hats. I am going through a process of transformation, as are we all. This blog represents reflections from all the various areas of my life as it stands today. Once I have clarified and defined what the blog(s) should be about, I will re-create my presence. Until then, I can blog, and learn how to become a better blogger in relative anonymity. songbird 

The very next post, and the series after that were interviews with notables such as Josh Bersin, Charles Jennings Donald TaylorClarke Quinn,  Nick Van DamJay Cross and Jane Hart among others. So blogging in relative anonymity and being able to create a well thought through presence was…well…not well thought through! I don’t think I really realised it at the time, but I had hit the ground running, and my ability to maximise on the potential of what my blog could be was immature. I had harnessed the attention of these great people but really didn’t know how to maximise it.

My rationale for conducting the impromptu guerrilla style (read sloppy!! :)) interviews, was to demonstrate to the good folks back in my business as to how we could tackle some of the challenges within our sector. I set about sharing knowledge within my organisation and demonstrating what was possible. They didn’t always thank me for it…but I persisted, driven by a bigger picture, and what I believed to be my higher ideals. I have definitely had a level of success to this end. Disappointingly though, the L&D folks have been the last ones to catch on, and the focus has been more on using the tools for marketing and communications. So there is still work to do. We are all getting there, and learning as we go…largely being dragged kicking and screaming by a world that refuses to wait for us. 

 Over the next year, I blogged periodically, keeping the online activities of my virtual mentors firmly in my site.  I began to attempt to put what I was learning into practice inside and outside my organisation. I did this alongside some difficult constraints both in my professional and personal life. 

We live in a rapidly changing world, and with the coalition government setting new precedents in terms of leadership, issues within and outside of the organisation began to consume my attention in a more negative way. My motivation was being tested, and my ability to remain upbeat became severely challenged.  I was working really hard, and on hindsight I was overloaded. As a result, my outlook took a downward spiral, and I began to suffer both personally and professionally. Not good. 

At a certain point, my blogs moved away from a focus on L&D and became more general,  I didn’t want to say negative things on my blog, but I had a lot to say, and was unsure how to frame them, so  sometimes I was incorporating lyrics, sometimes a bit of social commentary…then back to L&D. 

However, I suppose this kind of schizophrenic online activity was just a reflection of my internal and external landscape. Who am I? What am I about? Where do I belong? Where do I fit in?  How do I succeed? 

As a result of being severely challenged and tested, and making it through to the other side, I learned a great deal. Not always what I intended to learn. Perhaps though, what I needed to learn. I also know I have contributed to the education of many others in the process.  

I have also gained new qualifications, tested my theoretical knowledge in practical and demonstrable ways, saved my business a great deal of money, increased my online networks, and generally tried the best I could under the circumstances. Yes there is still a way to go…but I WILL get there.

Key Lessons I Have Learned?

  • The Devil is in the Detail – You can have the best ideas in the world. It’s all about how they are executed. Less is more. Take on less and deliver more.
  • Letting go – Where you provide assistance to others which enables them to make metal connections, they will quite rightly take ownership of those connections, believing it to be all their own idea… Just let them do it..after all…you cannot stop progress, and why would you want to?
  • Bite sized Chunks – We have all bought into the idea of learning in bite sized chunks in terms of online learning modules, events, video clips etc. The same holds true for disseminating knowledge to others within business. The sharing of knowledge needs to be strategic and relevant for the audience and relative to specific business challenges.
  • Productivity – Of course we owe a debt to our employers, our colleagues etc, but pay yourself first! Otherwise you cannot possibly deliver your best efforts and you may breed resentment for yourself, for others or vice versa.
  • Defining and refining your USP – I think my biggest problem has been separating my various personas: L & D professional, Musician, and Social Commentator.  There is still work to do here. Perhaps there should be no separation, perhaps there should?
  • Support – You need this in both the physical and virtual worlds. In order to gain buy-in for your ideas. In order to gain financial support to implement projects, in order to keep going when times get tough. Without support, yours will be a lonely road. Work out who will support you, and make sure you keep them onside, by nurturing the relationships with them. These people are the most valuable weapons in your arsenal. 

So, coming back to my original purpose for creating the blog? All in all, there has been so much I have learned, consumed, shared and collaborated on this past year. There was also so much I didn’t share. Many videos I took, Mind Maps I created, thoughts not expanded upon etc. Sometimes I had the wrong technology mix; sometimes I didn’t have enough time. Sometimes I was just moving too fast to see the wood for the trees. The great thing is, I really think I have learned enough to make this upcoming season far more productive. Let’s wait and see.

You can keep up to date with some of my various online activities here. They are not all L&D related but all have contributed to my personal online learning curve:














Singer/Songwriter Learning & Development Consultant Good Egg

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Posted in Learning Insight

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