How might you weave the things you feel you are best at—and, thus, enjoy the most—into what you have to do at work?
I need constant reminders of the concept of doing more of what I’m best at. It seems so easy.
What do I mean? How might you weave the things you feel you are best at—and, thus, enjoy the most—into what you have to do at work?
To get started, here are a few questions to ask yourself:
• How long have we been doing things this way?
• Why do we choose the options we choose?
• How did we get here?
• What do the learners really need to know/know how to do?
• What are the learners asking for?
• Make a conscious choice to do things differently. Yep. It is actually a conscious choice you’ll need to make every time you approach new or existing learning strategies and projects. And the existing ones take an extra heaping helping of choosing to do things differently. Why? Because we are creatures of habit and checking things off from a to-do list holds appeal. But doing so won’t get you on your path to doing more of what you’re best at.
• Be fearless. Remind yourself (as often as necessary) that you’re doing it for the right reason(s). Then go there in team meetings, making pitches and presentations for doing work in a different way, fearlessly.
• Challenge assumptions. Ask questions such as: Why? How come? Am I the best person for this work project? Who could do this better than me?
• Brainstorm. On your own and with others (both—not either/or). Nothing is a bad idea.
• Play. Host a game-storming event for your team, either in the office or off-site. Bring in old-school board games, popular new games such as Exploding Kittens, or video games you can play in the office. When we’re actively engaged in play, we use different parts of our brain. Games cause us to employ creative problem solving and strategy.
• Start small. Create a draft or make a small prototype. Sometimes other people have difficulty seeing our vision the way we do. And, if we’re honest, we might not always explain things well, right?
• Use different tools. If your go-to is a rapid development tool, grab some paper and markers, pull up to a whiteboard, or open a blank MS PowerPoint deck. Draw. Scribble. Doodle. Color outside the lines. Use your non-dominant hand as it shifts how your brain perceives the task at hand.
• Take your industry/organization out of the discussion (for now). It is constantly a source of wonder to me that I usually can solve learning content challenges when I engage friends who do this work but in other industries better than I ever can with fellow (internal) coworkers. Try this. It works. And when working with internal coworkers, pose challenges for other types of work, procedures, processes. Be creative and have fun with this. What you’ll find might just have application to your work situation(s), too.
TAKE IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL
If you and your team always jump to crafting an e-learning course for completion on the learning management system (LMS), change it up by exploring the building of a set of great job aids, games for learning, or learner-generated content. Conversely, if you and your team generally assume everything is an instructor-led, face-to-face class, think about what other types of learning would work instead—and be just as effective.
When brainstorming, apply a blue-sky mindset. No limits—NONE. What could we do if time, money, and other resources were no barriers to success? No judgments either. Just rapidly build the list of possibilities. Save it and refer to it often—add to it now and then, too. You might notice as you get savvy to this process that some items on the list might just be attainable, after all.
Do all of this to please yourself, make work more meaningful, and provide the best solutions for the learners. It doesn’t get better than that!
Dawn J. Mahoney, CPLP, owns Learning in The White Space LLC, a freelance talent development (“training”) and instructional design consultancy. She is passionate about developing people through better training, better instructional design, and better dialog. Mahoney asks the tough questions to ensure the training content is relevant to the work and performance expectations. She does this work because she loves to see the moment when the learning “dawns” on her learners. If you need help, get in touch with her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally published in the March/April 2019 edition of Training Magazine