As a Learning & Development Professional – Walk the Talk

Never stop learning -

When I talk to other Learning & Development professionals, I notice how hard working they are. It almost seems like they need to convince people to learn, whether it is as simple as influencing participants to show up in time for their training or something as big as convincing the top to invest in a leadership program.

While people start to understand that learning is crucial when it comes to growing an organisation, they are not always willing to put in the effort. You might wonder why not? Essentially you are asking them to change their behaviour, and the first (and most human) response to that is ‘no’.

I started to see all my L&D projects as mini change programs, which helped me approach things differently and more successfully. When you want to encourage change you need to walk the talk.

How often are you the role model when it comes to learning?

I’m embarrassed to say, I did not walk the talk:

  • I shared with people that they are in charge of their own development, but I did not think about my development for two years except during performance reviews
  • I delivered training telling participants that their pre-work is crucial for the training success, only to not do the pre-work to some of the training courses that I went on
  • I told my stakeholders that a Learning Needs Analysis is key when building a learning solution (rather than a training course) but in the end I just took orders and provided training that did not really tackle the cause…

Every L&D professional has different values/beliefs. And to inspire and instil change you need to show that you are living it. Now I am actively focusing on my development and I would like to ask you to do the same. Unfortunately, many L&D professionals I know are focused on helping other people learn and they tend to forget themselves.

You’ve already done a great first step by signing up the L&D Mastermind group. Congrats! But what is next? What advice would you give your client/employees?

As a L&D professional I would say that signing up to learn is just the first step to really develop yourself. You need to put in the effort to learn. Below are just some tips that I gathered throughout the years.

3 Tips to develop yourself

  1. Make learning a lifelong habit

How do you prefer to learn? Or more specifically, what type of learning engages you? If you are having fun, learning will feel like less effort to you. Knowing the type of learning you enjoy can help you find those type of resources better and help you turn it into a habit (fun things are easier to turn into a habit).

For example, I love reading articles and specifically about neuroscience and learning – yes I’m a proud nerd – so I signed up to the Learning Science Weekly. I am very excited every week to receive an email about this.

  1. Set small learning goals

Make small achievable learning goals and increase your goal along the way. Having too big of a goal can make it feel like it might be unattainable.

We live in a world where we are used to instant gratification, so with anything that takes too much time we tend to lose interest. Making small goals, can help you feel accomplished and motivated to go towards the next step.

You can, e.g. use SMART to define your goals.  I like to use Blooms Taxonomy to set my goals. If I want to get more skills in Diversity & Inclusion I start with the first step: finding the information about it and remember it. Then my next goal becomes: understanding this information. Followed by: applying this information etc.

  1. Schedule time to reflect

How are you currently learning? How are you adding value? From all tips this is the one that I think would really help any working professional. We are often in a rush but reflecting actually saves us time as it helps find the most effective ways and prevents mistakes from happening.

As you’ve noticed with my tips already, there isn’t just one way. Like with training providers I never want their off-the-shelf product because I need to customise it. And with developing yourself it is about customising it the way that works for YOU.

I would be happy to hear your thoughts on this.

Let’s connect and learn together!

Wendy Huynh

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