Since I've been traveling for work this week (that's why it's been a little quiet around here), I thought I would share a little story of someone I used to work with who used to use layovers as an opportunity to get in a few extra steps.
Carry-on in hand, he would circle (or if the terminal wouldn’t allow, walk up and down) the halls of the airport while he waited for his flight to arrive. An avid runner, he did it because he knew he wouldn't have the time to run on travel days so it was a way to stay in shape without running.
Reflecting back on this, it made me think about how we can take advantage of times where we can't do what we love but still move in the direction of our goals. In the case of my former co-worker, he couldn't do what he loved: run, but he could at least take some steps (pun intended) towards his goal: staying in shape.
Which got me thinking: What do you do with your layovers, at the airport and in life?
As learning and development professionals, it's our job to help facilitate great classes, create great courses, and generally speaking - get content into the hands of learners.
One program that succeeds at this is the altMBA. At the surface, it's a four-week intensive online course created by Seth Godin that offers leaders an alternative path to an MBA. But it's so much more than an online leadership course.
The altMBA has no grades. There's no lectures. No facilitators. There's weekly assignments, group video calls, and peer-to-peer feedback on your work. And all work is supported by coaches, in a 10:1 student to coach ratio.
It was unlike anything I have ever encountered. I learned more in 30-days than I learned in the last five years of my life combined.
Nearly two years after taking it, I am still talking with people in the program - coaches, peers, people in different sessions. I'm still inspired by the books I read, the connections I made, and I use what I learned daily. It was (and continues to be) a truly magical experience for me.
I recently pondering: How can I create learning and development programs that have the same magic at the altMBA? And decided it was time for a phone call with my altMBA coach, Peter Shepard, where I could ask that very question.
I was looking to come away from the call with some tips on how to design learning experiences that mimic the altMBA, and while I did get a few tactical tips, my biggest learning is that the magic isn't in how the curriculum is put together or the assignments are written, it's in the posture of everyone - the students and the coaches - involved in the course.
The goal for each session of this course isn't just for the students to learn, but for the coaches to learn as well.
The magic happens because everyone is approaching the experience with a growth mindset.
Which got me thinking, what if we approached every learning experience we design as an opportunity not just for our learners to learn and grow but also for ourselves to learn and grow? How might your work change?
When you give feedback to your favorite podcast and they make a small adjustment for the better.
When you share your work with someone who points out that it sounds a lot like an author they've heard of, and one who inspired your work.
When your almost three-year-old puts his dirty dish in the sink.
All small. But all big.
Small because they aren't ground breaking things. But big because combined together they all show you that you're making a difference, you're on the right track. And that's how things change - a bunch of little things, over time, adding up to a big change.
Organizations spend a lot of money getting employees to accept change.
"A system is changing and we need employees to start using it differently."
"A policy is changing and we need people to start doing things differently."
"Our department is changing and we need people to accept it."
And the list goes on.
Entire departments are devoted to helping employees navigate the change. The organization I work at has one - the Organizational Development team. Maybe you have one too? Change Management team? Transition Management? Sound familiar?
Change is hard, so it's good to invite people to help others in the workplace navigate that change and (if you're lucky) embrace it.
But what if instead of devoting resources to helping people embrace the change, we devoted resources to helping people embrace Change?
Rather than being reactionary when there's a change, instead get people bought into the idea of change as a good thing in order for the organization to meet its vision.
How about hiring people who encourage change, the people who see it as a pathway to getting good stuff done?
How about sharing with new employees how the organization has changed for the better and how change will help it in the future?
How about workshops that help your leaders not only accept change, but run towards it?
Rather than change management, how about Change Embracing?
"I wrote a blog post about it..." says the speaker, as if that somehow ups their credibility.
So what, I used to think. You wrote a blog post, but that doesn't make you more credible. What makes you more credible is when someone credible reads it and sites your blog post.
But is that really true?
Do we need someone to validate our work for it to be credible or is creating our own work enough to make it credible?
Aren't the acts of processing, of writing, and sending it out into the world what gives us the credibility?
The next time I hear someone say they wrote a blog post about it, instead of wondering who read it and what they thought of it, I should wonder what the author experienced during the process of sending their work out to the world. Because that makes you a lot more credible than most.
My oldest son recently started saying"I can't know" when he doesn't know something.
What he means is "I don't know," but he hasn't quite learned that yet.
Anyway, it's part adorable and part heartbreaking every time he says it.
Adorable because I know what he means, but heartbreaking because I know he can know and I don't ever want him to think he can't know. I always want him to ask, to be curious.
Which, of course, got me thinking. How many times do we say "I can't know" as adults when what we actually mean is "I don't know"?
If you don't know, ask. Be curious. You can know, you just don't yet.