Learning Professionals – Do you need to tweak your pipes?

Gauge and Pipes - image by Michal Marcol

Learning Cuppa from the UK

In my last post I talked about the Institute of IT Training (IITT) becoming the Learning & Performance Institute (LPI). The big announcement came at Learning Live last week; you can find a great round up of the event by @martincouzins on trainingzone. Now the dust has settled we can take a quick look at the key messages and I’ve also had chance to catch up with @NiallGavinUK, an LPI member since 1996, for his view of the change.

Before we look at some of the things I’ve taken from last week, I wanted to reflect on my newest learning experience. This reflection should hopefully also give some clue as to the title of this week’s post, which is a bit random at first glance. The experience I’m referring to is fitting my new bathroom.

Now I’m not a plumber, nor am I a builder by trade. In fact it’s fair to say that I am to DIY what Floyd Mayweather is to humility and manners. I’ve never liked DIY stuff, probably as I found out from an early age that I was rubbish at it. So DIY is not my thing. However projects are right up my street and fitting the bathroom presented me with an interesting opportunity where I could apply some project planning methodology.

So why was I fitting a bathroom with very little experience and a deep rooted hatred of DIY? Well the main reason is that I had a secret weapon, my father-in-law, Doug Calvy. Doug was a British Aerospace engineer for 25 years before recently retiring and he kindly offered to be the lead on “Project Bathroom”. Doug is a great example of someone who has become an expert in his field (of engineering) and can apply this knowledge in a variety of ways from building extensions to loft conversions to fitting bathrooms. It’s amazing what he can do with a drill and spirit level, to say I trust his capability and judgement in this area is an understatement.

So together we planned the week ahead and talked around timelines and the progress we’d like to achieve each day and by Tuesday I’d already planned to get the new sink and shower in and was planning the light fittings. “Hold on Mike – progress all depends on the pipework,” Doug said!

Now for the uneducated you turn on a tap, bath or shower and hot or cold water magically appears. We all take things for granted without a thought to how it actually gets there. Well Doug was right. Progress does depend on the pipework – as it took three days just to re-structure the pipework under the floor to allow us to get the right set up, pressure to the taps and waste flows in place. The amount of pipe tweaking that Doug did in this time was something to behold but he put it like this: “it might take a bit of time but getting the pipework right is the key to success”.

So three days behind schedule we continued, but Doug had taught me a valuable lesson.

So what has this lesson got to do with the Learning and Performance Institute or even Learning and Development and why on earth do you need to think about tweaking pipes?

Let me explain; here’s the video of LPI Chairman @DonaldHTaylor launching the Institute at Learning Live and he goes through the reasons for change and what to expect from the LPI in the future. There are few things that stood out for me and things also brought to life with my chat with @NiallGavinUK:

• It’s an exciting time to be in Learning & Development
• The role of trainers has evolved and changed over the years and typically a trainer no longer focuses on one particular discipline
• This broadening of the trainer role and new accountabilities means that the name change better reflects its members’ needs in 2011. The Institute will in fact better reflect the needs of the modern Learning Professional
• 70% of organisational leaders believe that the skills of their workforce will help them come out of recession. These skills are being appreciated more and more and recognised as being crucial to organisational success
• There is a much greater need for Learning Professionals to be aware of how learning affects performance on an individual and organisational level
• The LPI are going to create a road map of what it means to be a Learning Professional and will be sharing this with members and non-members alike.

I also like the LPI mission and in particular the new statement around what they provide:
WE PROVIDE
Sharp knowledge and experience that is fundamental for developing the performance and capability of today’s forward-thinking learning professionals.”
It’s the bit around experience that really caught my eye as @ColinSteed and @DonaldHtaylor have been in the learning profession (sorry chaps) for a very long time. In fact Don says he’s been in training for the last 25 years and started as an IT trainer, and Colin has been in training for over 35 years. It’s this wealth of experience that Doug brought to the project when fitting the bathroom and, because of his experience, knowledge and capability, I trusted his judgement when he said the pipework needed all that attention and constant tweaking to maximise water flow / pressure (and of course to prevent leaks). So if the LPI are creating a roadmap to become a better Learning Professional to represent an evolving role, then it would be foolish not to be interested in what this looks like.

I have no affiliation with the LPI, however I do respect and admire knowledge and experience in any profession. I am also relatively new to L&D so am very keen to see the roadmap of what it looks like to be a modern Learning Professional – from those who’ve been in the industry a lot longer then me. I’m keen to see what this evolution looks like from being a single disciplined trainer to a multi-skilled and highly capable learning professional who can enhance organisational performance in a variety of ways. I would like to see if the capabilities and attributes within this roadmap can be found in my own team and indeed look within to see if I myself possess some of these attributes.

I will also be looking forward to sharing this with my L&D colleagues and working towards building capability that maximises performance through learning, as I do believe that this is where L&D needs to excel in the future. I want to be part of a profession and team who add value to an organisation by developing the skills and capabilities that matter most. I’m sure there will be some gaps and perhaps it’s an opportunity to look at your own teams now and ask yourself if you have you got the right skills and capability to deliver better performance through learning. If not, what do you need to do to meet this demand now and in the future? Do we need to look under the floor boards to make sure the team is providing the best it can and is adding the most value?

Or as Doug would put it: “Do you need to tweak your pipes”?

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