We Can’t Be Everything to Everyone

We Can't Be everything

Nor should we try.

In a day and age when we are challenged to do more with less, less people, less money, less onsite resources, we have to prioritize on where we focus our efforts.

Adopt what we can - Adapt the rest

Remember the 80/20 rule – deciding what is worth your time for the best result. This may mean developing training that may not be your proudest moment. We have all been there. If you have worked in any training capacity within the walls of a corporation – you have created training courses on the fly. Not because you wanted to, but because the boss insisted, and they weren’t pretty. The upside being they made the boss happy, the downside is the odds are good the course did nothing to achieve a learning outcome or meet a business goal.

Where “shame on you” raises its head is, “what happened the next time”? Did you learn from the ugliness of your last creation? Did you take the time to go back and refine your efforts? Did you create a method to help your next “hair on fire” training initiative improve and perhaps make a difference? Did you make changes that made an impact improving the result?

This is where Learning Rebels excel. Believe me when I tell you I have put out some crap in the universe (and I apologize to the universe now). What makes us all Rebels is the ability to say crap don’t cut it anymore. While we may HAVE to put out training based on the demands of a person who is so far away from the front-lines we only see their name in company newsletters, it doesn’t mean said training has to be terrible and ineffective. For that, we only have ourselves to blame. We are not using design tools that are within our grasp.

We do not have all the answers.

We cannot be both the “head and the body”. There are people who are cut out to be “performance consultants” and people who, until they die, will be awesome facilitators of training content – and a whole host of training positions in between. Our job is to take the position we are currently occupying and turn it on its head.

Do you consider yourself a “performance consultant”?  Are you sure? Are you questioning the decision making process for learning initiatives? Are you trying to build a true learning “ecosystem” within your organization? Are you building/nurturing a learning community with the leadership of your organization? Are you consulting across departments with end-users? Have you read books or participated in learning to improve your consulting and negotiating skills? Are you learning the language of business? Do you have a mentor or coach?

Do you fancy yourself a curriculum developer or instructional designer? Great! Although, the same questioning applies. How are you turning your world on its head? Are you suggesting different approaches/modalities or innovative points of view to learning design? After being denied, are you re-pitching, not once, not twice, but three times; your original proposal? Are you building under the radar programs to test? How are your curating skills? What have you found to adapt and then adopt? Do you have a network to help you when stuck in the mud? Do you know where to find one? When was the last time you picked up a CURRENT book on instructional design, adult learning, or social learning to redirect your thinking and processes?

Do what you do and do it well.

Do it crazy different. There are times we have had to settle for a crappy product and that is okay. Any business that produces something, at times, will produce a crappy product. The key is learning and adjusting from those experiences, then not repeating the mistakes of the past. THIS is what real Rebels do. They learn, unlearn, and relearn as a constant.

Therefore, this post is not about the homogenization of the learning field. Not everyone can, or should be a performance consultant (or catalyst or new shiny term of the moment). We should be celebrating the uniqueness of our chosen profession and our roles within this profession.

We bemoan those within the industry who are suffering from the “ambiguity effect“. They do not grow, are unwilling to move into the current century, or are just plain scared to the point of selecting the “devil they know” over some newfangled internet thing. Ya know what? People like this are in every field, in every organization. This is not where we waste our energy.

Where we spend our energy is helping our brothers and sisters who want to “fight the good fight” but don’t know the language, don’t know where to look, or are simply paralyzed by so many available options that they stay in the safety of their spaces. These are people with whom we need to continue to reach out, and share the message that it’s okay not to be perfect, and understand that we can’t be everything to everyone.

And nor should we.

How are you prioritizing the many hats you are wearing? 

Shannon Tipton

Shannon Tipton

As Owner of Learning Rebels, Shannon Tipton is a skilled learning strategist, content developer and International speaker. Shannon has over 20 years of leadership experience developing successful learning strategies and infrastructures for training departments within organizations in North America, Europe and Korea.

Shannon works with people and organizations to develop learning solutions that brings actual business results. Recognized as bringing real-world expertise into the learning field, Shannon integrates technologies and social learning tools to strengthen workplace alignment, enhance collaboration and increase learning connectivity.

As author of “Disruptive Learning” Shannon frequently speaking at conferences across North America and Europe and ranks as one of the top 100 L&D influencers on Twitter (@stipton).

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