The Age of Aquarius in Professional Development

Let’s chat for a minute about what you need to be successful at work. Is it online training seminars, more webinars, more workshops? Maybe… but you probably need a little bit more than that.

Professional Development is much more than what workshops are offered and when.

1st Dimension: Training

There are many spheres or dimensions to development. On the surface we think about training objectives/topics, presenter skills and engagement activities. All of these are very important strategies during training. However, the absolute key to any seat-time experience, whether it is online or f2f, is what happens afterwards.

How do we transfer that learning back to our work environments, our offices?

2nd Dimension: Knowledge Transfer

“Wow, that was a great workshop! The speaker was awesome, the handouts spectacular. Now I am going to put it all in a folder in my drawer….oh, no.”

What does it take to bring that new knowledge into our practice? Maybe we just need time at the end of the session to consider how the information we just learned can impact our current situation. What if, when the training concluded we were given 10 minutes to complete a worksheet or engage in a dialogue that would outline how we could integrate this new knowledge into our practice. If we can’t integrate it for one reason or another, then can we at least list a number of colleagues who may be interested in this information and then pass it along?

3rd Dimension: Fostering Connections & Contributions

The previous two dimensions are important, yet I believe they mean very little without this third dimension.

To be successful, people need to feel that they can actively contribute, engage with their peers, and develop professionally.  I found a great audio excerpt about the Essentials of Engagement which is located at the American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) site.

This mini-podcast references the one segment of the following book, 12: The Elements of Great Managing by Rodd Wagner and James Harter.  When we feel that our workplace promotes these concepts, an engaged and active, thriving environment emerges.

  • I connect with the vision and mission of my employer or division.
  • My opinion matters.
  • I have the opportunity to grow professionally.
  • I am recognized or praised for my work. I am appreciated.
  • Someone at work encourages my development.

So, yes, I need to focus on training strategies that can engage people during the workshop, but I also need to find out how I can support the broader engagement of our staff.

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