Tag Archives: workplace performance

The Olympics – A Guideline to Continuous Learning

The Olympics – A Guideline to Continuous Learning

The Olympics – A Guideline to Continuous Learning

The Olympics – A Guideline to Continuous Learning

With the Olympics coming to a close and the closing ceremony occurring this Sunday. One cannot help but reflect back on these past few weeks, the incredible athletes and what they have accomplished. Years and years of training have culminated in either a medal for some of these participants or the drive to train even harder for one more chance at glory in the Tokyo Olympics of 2020. Which leaves the typical viewer with a lot of questions. Questions such as, what inspires these national representatives to work towards this ultimate goal? How could I train at this stage in my life to do what they are doing?

What we as the viewer see is only a fledgling look into the world of these competitors, the tip of the iceberg if you will. Sure there are special broadcasts that detail typical training regimens for certain prolific athletes, and I for one am quite interested in attempting to eat the 2008 diet of Michael Phelps, who famously proclaimed he was consuming 12,000 calories a day. However, I am sure that sounds a little more glorious than the actual act would be. The point being that much like in the Training and Development Industry, there is a clear and interesting storyline going on under the surface. That many outsiders will never see, and being highlighted in these efforts is the incredible underlying process of continuous learning. What is fast today, may not be the fastest tomorrow. Records are only established to be broken, and that thought process is wholly responsible for why we as individuals have to keep working every day in order to improve ourselves, our day to day operations and become better than the department that existed before us.

The following steps occur in the corporate world much like that have had to occur in each one of these Olympians’ lives. These are also the foundation for establishing an unbeatable culture of Continuous Learning:

Establish a Career Path

For some of these competitors, the life of athletics was chosen for them before they could even walk. Parents drilled into their minds that they were going to be the right build for these sports or that they were going to have the skill sets required to compete at a very high level. But, in most cases, the drive into becoming an Olympic level athlete solely rests on the shoulders of the athlete themselves. Olympians much like business professionals have to decide what the appropriate path for them is going to be. Once the sport is chosen, or the profession is locked in, the goal becomes the question of how can I do this better, faster, and more accurately than anyone else who has either played this sport or held this position before me? As heads of Training and Development programs, we need to be aware of this process. This is how our cohorts have gotten to where they are now, and why they are willing to become a better element within the workforce over time.

Present the Right Tools

In sports much like in real life, ourselves as individuals can only achieve so much. If you’re a swimmer, you need a pool to swim in. If you’re a basketball player, you need a basketball, a hoop, and some competition. In the business world, you don’t know what you don’t know. It is best to evaluate the role you will be responsible for, and identify what components are needed for you, in particular, to go forward. As a marketing person, I would be lost without my analytics platforms, my google (I do consider myself an Olympic level Googler), my Adobe Creative Suite, and a variety of other tools that are specific to me within this organization. Document these, know that a culture of continuous learning is dependent in major part on the environment that our workforce is placed into.

Establish a Clear Process

This is what my training course will look like if I want to be prepared for this upcoming competition. In order to achieve certain tasks in our business lives, we need to figure some things out. In particular, the best process to get us from point A to point B. Much like Track and Field superstars who spend hours agonizing over their stride length and form, we too have drivers that determine our abilities in the office place. Once you have established a clear process and trained the individuals within the department on how to achieve satisfactory results, the task is not over. There will also be someone out there who can do it faster, why not take this opportunity to establish clear methods in which the personnel can work together to improve this process as a whole, and promote positive growth within the organization.

Reinforce to Correct Mindset

“I can do this, I can wear one of those medals around my neck.” Much like in the Olympics, people need to have clear goals established for themselves. This can be done via a variety of methods, such as monetary incentives, badging, or even good old-fashioned approval from people in supervisory positions. Olympians just like members of the workforce need to determine what works for themselves and then find out what they need to focus on the task at hand. Most people that start out on the competitive sports track are met with adversity along the way. Personally, in my young sporting career I was awarded an immense amount of opportunities, and along the way I need to figure out how to overcome injuries, teammates vying for the same position I was, and adversaries who were just a little bit better than myself on the field.

Develop a Strategy

With my clear process for becoming better, I’ll develop milestones to measure my effectiveness over time. I want to be this fast by this upcoming competition, I want my shot accuracy to be 10 percentage points higher by this point in time 6 months from now. Here is the roadmap for how I will achieve these goals. The same principal applies in the workplace. I want a set number of people to read this blog today, and I want so much more people to read this blog tomorrow. In order to reach all of you wonderful people, I need to make sure I do not forego developing an effective strategy.  

Execution, Execution, Execution!

Put in the work with all these aforementioned items in mind. This is where we put the whole thing together, and we actually learn at an Olympic level. Once you have a strategy in place surrounding a series of processes and all the tools needed for your disposal, and the will to accomplish the very goal you have in mind. There are very few things in your life that can stop you. This is an important lesson for members of the Training and Development community. As these Olympians have so thoughtfully set a clear method to not only improve our day to day learning but have inspired us to want to achieve the ultimate goal. If these individuals can train their entire lives for an event that only take 10 seconds to complete, we can put in the work to be better within our positions.

Thank you for joining me in this evaluation on the training Olympians undergo, and their “real life” linkage to the concept of continuous learning. I hope you all have thoroughly enjoyed the games at hand. Please continue to follow Gyrus Systems’ as we further investigate relevant topics in the field, current events, and the future of our industry.

 

 

The Olympics and Learning – A Fierce Combination

The Olympics and Learning – A Fierce Combination

The Olympics and Learning – A Fierce Combination

The Olympics and Learning – A Fierce Combination

With the games already under way and the Opening Ceremony beginning tonight. It seems appropriate that we compare the games to our industry. In the Learning and Development market, as in most, there are incredible similarities and strange happenstance where the lines seemingly cross without much of a thought. Though in one realm people are representing their countries and battling in beloved sports, and the other, we’re just trying to learn better and convince people along the way that they can too.

So how is the Learning and Development landscape like the Olympics? In the LMS market, we’re no strangers to competition, with projections marking as many as 700 providers in the marketplace, it sort of feels like we are participating in our own Olympics every day. However, that is not the direction I plan on taking this blog post. The secret of these large events is to embrace them for what they are. People are fascinated by these events for good reason, and if understood by the organization, could be used as a means to bring your departments, stakeholders, and personnel even closer together, and here’s how:

Gamification

Admit it, you were waiting for me to get to this point. The Olympic Games as they are known are a tremendous time to capitalize on action-oriented content. People are fixated with medal counts and want to know how their country is doing at all times, including intrigue in sports that they have never once given consideration to. To be clear, I’m not suggesting that you conduct an office-wide gymnastics, volleyball or wrestling competition. Merely, that at this particular time in history, people are highly motivated to think introspectively. Thoughts like, “If I would have kept with that sport in high school… Would I have gotten to this point?” or “What am I going to do with this new found knowledge of the complexities of Table tennis?” are running rampant in your workplace. This leads us to an intriguing opportunity for the content creators out there. Topical games are an underutilized facet of the educational mix, though their longevity is questionable, their existence could easily generate motivation the likes of which your organization has yet to experience. If a big swimming event is occurring next week and it is going to be in the hearts and minds of your employees, why not place a game in front of them that allows them to expand on their learnings while advancing their avatars across a cartoony swimming pool?

Badging

Speaking of medal counts, Bronze, Silver, and Gold medals are quite literally the badging standard. Why not create badges that match your gamification efforts? By giving a time window reflecting the duration of the games themselves, you could ward off office distractions, and obtain a level of focus an organization typically does not experience at this time of a 4-year cycle. Instead of hearing about who won Judo, Equestrian, team handball, and rowing; we could be motivating our learners to participate in their own way. Statements like, “Did you see John in Human Resources has 35 Gold Medals?” could very well be an interesting change of pace that not only brings your smart and topical learning environment into the limelight, but also provides an increase in productivity for your program.

Social

With so much focus on National pride and reaching collective success as a team, another manner you could reach your team is by using this time to becoming more team focused. It is only natural for people to chatter about the events that are transpiring on the World’s stage in Rio; at the same time, they’re talking, and while they’re talking they are presenting a strong ability to collaborate on tasks. Embrace the Olympic culture, and suggest collaborative work groups up and down your organization. Take advantage of inter-company social media representation and allow people to use this time in order to further build their connections. 

Pride in your work

People, in general, are already invested in their work, but if you take a look around the office, you will be surprised to find that some of your hardest workers are giving their work just a little bit more during these events. Above all, people are very proud of their Countries and when that particular emotion is presenting itself, it tends to permeate into other facets of work. Embrace the Summer Olympics as they are a truly unique commodity that only present themselves every 4 years, and to use a dated expression, “Strike while the iron is hot!” That Trampoline event may not make sense to you, but there are undoubtedly people in your organization who perceive what is going on in that sport as a dream come true and its representation as a victory in and of itself.  Do not be afraid to nurture these thought processes. Get out ahead of it and consider sending a quick company-wide synopsis of events from the previous day; this will promote positive communication channels within your organization and allow for the Learning environment mentioned above.

When coupling all of these methodologies together keep in mind that we do not want to go overboard. Instead, we are finding a unique way to cultivate the motivation of our staff, by presenting them with items that are coinciding directly with how they are thinking t this current moment in time. Though your entire office may not be interested in all of the events, and some people may be disinterested altogether, the sheer anticipated volume of eyes set to watch the events themselves should be an indication of what a colossal opportunity this could be.   Thank you for joining me for this fun venture into a current event that will unquestionably affect our work week in one way or another and please continue looking towards the bright side and the potential of what these cool current events could mean to yourself and your organization.

 

 

Are Academic Achievements Indicators of Workforce Performance Successes?

How important are academic achievements in predicting workforce performance? The general thinking that good students will be good workers goes along these lines:

  • If the student cares enough to work for good grades, he or she will work hard as an employee.
  • The student has the general aptitude to understand what is needed in this profession.
  • The student has the general background to be successful in this profession

While these are valid arguments, there are other considerations for a student's academic performance, such as:
Personal factors–Perhaps the student has many personal conflicts with jobs, family (e.g., newborn baby), and environmental (having to study in a loud, distracting place).
Social factors–Perhaps the student gave up a social life to have academic success. While that is honorable and noble, will such a person make a good employee in a highly social environment?
Personal motives–Was the driving force behind the academic success an unbearable parent, for example? Will that same force be present in the work environment? Did the student learn for the right reason or just to alleviate another problem?
Poor Student–Some people, I am convinced, are just poor students. But that does not make them poor or even marginal employees. Some people just do not thrive in a classroom environment but do in a work environment.
I worked on an IT project several years ago with a group of seven or eight academically-successful people. One older lady in the group did not have the college degrees that the rest of us had. She even had limited technical skills and was used on the project as a technical writer. But she had a way about her that brought out the best of everyone on the team, even though she was not the project manager. I remember watching her interact with the group, thinking, that if we were to name an MVP for the project team, it would be this lady; even though she made minimal technical contributions.