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Leadership & Management

Leading involves inspiring and motivating.  It also involves working collaboratively to address issues and explore new possibilities.  Finally, it involves decision-making.  I’ve continued to use the skills daily whether I’m working with a team of four or 40+.

I’ve included in this section:

  1. Mii collage of my first Learning Design team. I can not say how much respect I have for each of the people pictured here. I have now had the privilege of leading several really great teams. My teams always make leading look easy.
  2. Thoughts on losing a team. I’ve now also been through many divisional re-organizations. Some of them were a natural evolution of processes that had changed over time and went fairly smoothly. Two of them however were more ideologically driven and were extremely hard on both me and the teams I supported.
  3. A couple of posts that I tossed out at work when I first started using blogs to connect with others. Both within organizations and externally blogging has helped me to more fully develop my ideas, challenge my assumptions and build communities of inquiry.

The World’s Greatest Learning Design Team

When it’s time to say good-bye

By now, I’ve lost count of the number of teams I’ve supported. Some of them grew and shrank over time according to our needs. Sometimes they included contractors who stayed for only a few months. People come and go, often to better opportunities inside the same company or elsewhere and I’ve always felt a little pride in the small part I played in their movement to someplace better.

So the teams that I remember the most clearly, are not the ones that evolved away, or transitioned because I moved to a new job or they did. No, then team I remember are the ones that were broken apart during ideologically driven re-organizations. In both cases they were the result of an amalgamation of two  from different organizations. In both cases, the teams I supported prior to the re-organization had received commendations and praise for their strong performance and value to the organization. In both cases, teams that had found synergies by working together were broken up an placed within different organizational groups. In both cases, not only the people, but their ways of working and their responsibilities changed dramatically overnight. In both cases, the organizations are still trying to recover from the disruptions (In one case, it’s been over two years of recovery. In the other case, they are four months in).

Eventually, we all move on and learn our new ways of doing things. We adjust. But I hope I never get used to these types of organizational changes, that will be comfortable when I need to break up a high-performing team made up of excellent and caring people. As much as it hurts, I hope it never gets easy when it is time to say goodbye.

 Blog Post: Sell it or give it away?

Posted by Tanya Elias on 08 August 2012, 12:22 PM

Ask me who I think the corporate leader is in elearning and I’d say IBM. Why? Their name comes up in publications, white papers and journals frequently and members of their training team work as journal reviewers.

Is everything they create really innovative and outstanding? I have no idea. I’ve never actually seen anything they’ve built, and I’ve certainly not seen everything they’ve built.

But by giving away some of their ideas and sharing with the wider community they’ve built a reputation (in my mind at least).

Here’s another example. Citrix runs webinars of virtual training all of the time. I attended a couple and then read the Toolkit for the Virtual Classroom. It was OK. Then I attended a training with one of our virtual trainers and looked at the Vitrual Toolkit. Ours were better, hands down. But, they are gaining a reputation as experts by sharing (for free). We are not.

There was a time that a product could be built once, and the sold again and again. You came up with a good idea and sold the product.

I think that has changed. Now, you come up with a good idea, develop the product, and then give it away (or at least a version of it) for free. Why? Because the product is no longer what has the value.

Instead, the value is in the innovation and problem-solving that came up with it – the ability to have another good idea. Getting recognized for having that good idea, also encourages you to come up with another one, a better one.

Blog Post: What If…

Posted by Tanya Elias on 23 September 2012, 4:12 PM

I’ve been listening to the talk about moving to Power Point templates as e-learning scripts which sent me down the following path of “What ifs…” that led me wonder why we don’t just script in Captivate.

Please bear in mind I come at this with just less than six weeks of actual instructional design experience, so there are likely big flaws in my logic.  PLEASE point them out.  For me it is the best way to learn.

Much of the elearning that I’ve been exposed to is little more than print-based learning delivered via a computer.  There’s good reasons for that, but to move past that and really capitalize on the potential of elearning, the visual component of scripting is essential.

BUT, I’ve also done a (very) little bit of editing and know that to make sure the words are right it is helpful to be able to concentrate on just the words.

So that got me thinking…

What if….  the captions could be exported for the CQA process.  It turns out that feature in not available in Power Point. hmm….

What if…. we used Captivate to script making static pages?  Is creating static slides in Captivate any harder than in Power Point.  Wouldn’t it be easier to learn and use one program rather than two?  Wouldn’t it maybe save some time if the development team could just cut and copy bits from scripts already in Power Point?  hmmmm….

What if… we scripted using the acutal elearning templates that the development team used in Captivate? We could put the stuff where it needs to be and the development team would then be responsible to make sure it actually works.  We’d probably muck around with things we shouldn’t touch and don’t understand and cause more problems.  hmmmm….

What if….. we could have actual elearning templates with specific development related features locked? Like the Power Point templates, we could pull them out of a library, put our stuff (content) in, and then send them off to development where they could do the fine tuning and care for the more technical side of things.  We could also export our captions for CQA. It might also facilitate some great dialog between the ID team and the development team around what is possible, what is desirable and why we do the things we do.

I’m not sure it this is practical or possible, but I thought I’d throw it out there.

Blog post: Ideas that might just lead to action

Blogs as a tool for self-reflection in learning?  Hmmmm….. I’m going to tell the story of two separate blog posts. One I posted on the Landing and one on my work blog.  Both were simply my personal thoughts, musings and hypothesizing.  I posted both in the spirit of reflection rather than expecting anything from anyone.  And to my surprise, both resonated with a reasonably high number of people (and yes I consider 5 or 6 people to be reasonably high), but more importantly they both resulted in some (small but positive) action.

My ideas might make a difference? Now there’s a crazy notion.  And the comments and actions of other encouraged me to have more confidence in my ideas, say more of them “out loud” and maybe take some steps towards affecting change myself.

Ideas leading to action leading to more action and more ideas…  Wow, I have to say I am warming to these social tools.

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