Next week is Employee Learning Week 2023.
Employee Learning Week is celebrate each year during the first full week of December and is a time to highlight dedication to talent development.
Is your company doing anything to celebrate Employee learning?
It's a great time to remind employees about all of the resources available to them for learning and development.
If your company does something to celebrate, they can be recognized as a champion of learning! visit this link to see how.
Meet the Board
This month’s featured board member is also our newest board member. Dan Cox told me the running joke is he’s worked in every industry- and that’s not much of an exaggeration. Dan is a problem solver and a lifelong learner. We’re excited to have him as our VP of Membership.
Dan currently works as a trainer for Gant Travel, which seems fitting given one of his favorite things to do is travel. He’s been to 43 of the 50 United States.
As a corporate travel trainer, Dan trains travel agents. He brings years of training experience and a robust understanding of instructional design and training technologies to his team.
Dan is the only member of his work team who wasn’t first a travel agent. Instead, Dan traversed a circuitous route to the corporate world. He told me he comes from a family of teachers, and as he moved through roles in the military, healthcare, and education he always found himself in informal instructional roles. When he eventually found himself in the corporate world, talent development was a natural fit, and he took the opportunity to earn a master's degree in Instructional design.
Dan has a vision and goal to increase the role of ATD in the state of Maine. He loves to have conversations and learn about what members want and need. He believes in being part of the solution.
When Dan joins meetings, you might catch a glimpse of his Zoom background image of Horseshoe Bend, just one of the many iconic locations he has visited. He has stood on both rims of the Grand Canyon, and recently, he got to take advantage of a work trip and traveled to Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon National Parks.
When Dan talks about travel, you can hear the excitement in his voice. There’s no doubt his work aligns with his passions. Dan brings his appetite for exploration and his dedication to the Talent Development community of Maine to his new VP position, and we have no doubt that he will work to make our chapter even better.
If you’d like to connect with Dan, you can find him on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/daniel-cox-8343a978.
Program Recap Alert!
Did you join us for our panel discussion last week?
We kicked off our learning season with a panel discussion about Future-Proofing Talent
Our panel of experts discussed Artificial Intelligence in the workplace, cross-generational approach to technology, telling stories with data, and supporting our teams in this time of seemingly constant change.
Dan Cox kicked off the day with a demonstration of Chat GPT and discussed its use in creating written material in the workplace, ranging from resumes to training materials.
Our moderator posed the thought-provoking question of how can Chat GPT make us more efficient in our work and what are the impacts on our business initiatives or for our customers?”
We also dipped our toes into the waters of the regulatory discussion, acknowledging that with new technology new regulations are arising, and these changes come with potential training needs.
As technology often does, the discussion was prompted around cross-generational trends in technology use, comfort, and adoption.
One of the big takeaways of the discussion was that showing the benefits and capabilities of technology is a great place to start. The analogy was made of leading the horse to the water and then letting them drink.
When it comes to digital literacy, the consensus was that we need to make it meaningful.
As our use of technology increases, we have so much more access to data.
Molly Lindberg discussed the need for employees who are able to to speak to both sides- they can walk the walk and talk the talk on the technical side, and they can translate that into meaningful information for the business leaders. This is so important as we advocate for training needs and technology tools.
Richard Parent expanded on this to emphasize that we need to be focused on teaching people how to consume data and think critically about that data. He emphasized the need to skill-up storytellers and skill-up story readers.
All of our panelists chimed into the discussion about supporting people in this climate of rapid change. We briefly discussed the trend of employees retiring rather than adapting as well as the obstacle of younger employees intentionally resisting technology.
While we didn’t find all of the solutions in our training session, we had an interesting discussion about setting internal standards and policies, managing risk, and building psychological safety in the workplace.
This was the first training of the season, and it was our way of opening the door to our training year theme of Future Proofing Talent: Navigating the Skills Revolution. We hope to see you at our future trainings!
Some highlights from ATD National
Are you a Power Member?
This new monthly blog series is here to highlight some of our Maine chapter members’ top picks for articles, podcast episodes, and upcoming trainings highlighted on the National ATD site.
Let’s start this series with a quick reminder that you have access to the national ATD site as well as the Maine chapter site if you are a power member! If you are already a member of ATD Maine, you can get a $30 discount on your national membership.
The ATD National site offers a wide range of resources.
And for those of us driving the long, winding roads of Maine, one of the coolest offerings is its podcast series!
When you arrive at the ATD National home page, you can click on explore and scroll down to find Podcasts.
They currently host three different podcasts: The Accidental Trainer, DE&I Podcast, and Talent Development Leader Podcast.
You can listen right from the site or find them on your podcast platform of choice.
There is great content in all of the podcasts. The Accidental Trainer podcast covers a wide variety of topics with actionable items discussed with industry experts.
DE&I podcast is a monthly podcast and covers all things DE&I as related to talent development.
Talent Development Leader Podcast features conversations with industry influencers about, you guessed it, all things leadership in talent development.
If you come across a topic that piques your interest, let us know! We might have a SIG where you can explore it more, or we can add it to our list of topics of interest for future learning sessions.
The Other Magic Word
What if I told you there is a magic word you can say to increase trust and engagement in your learning spaces? Too good to be true, right?
I will concede my first claim is an exaggeration, but the words we choose do have power, and a simple shift in word choice can significantly influence the culture of learning .
The use of “yes, and” phrasing or thinking is not a new concept and many professionals employ this tool in their daily communication. The concept comes from the world of improv.
“Yes, and” works in improv because the actors trust that whatever choice they make will be met with acceptance and validation. This is the same reason why using this phrasing in learning spaces can be so influential when working to encourage engagement and influence a culture of trust.
So how and when can you incorporate this phrase into the language you use? A simple place to start is to think about any time you would say, “yes, but” and start substituting “yes, and.”
This simple exchange of three letters can change the entire tone of a conversation.
“yes, but” says I waited for you to stop talking. You’re wrong. This is what I think and I’m right. Likely your intention behind the “but” is not any of those things, at least consciously, and yet that’s the experience the person has.
“yes, and” says I hear you. You’re right. I value what you say. Let me join you in this discussion.
Imagine if you took the risk to shared your thoughts and were met with this experience of feeling heard and valued. Likely you would feel more comfortable, more confident, and would be more willing to speak up in the future.
This phrasing is a way to demonstrate active listening. By using “yes, and” we keep the conversation moving.
When people feel heard, they feel respected and important. By fostering these experiences in our interactions, we begin to create a feeling of trust in our learning spaces which can lead to an increase in psychological safety. When people feel safe in their work environment, they are more willing to take the risk of failing, and this is the space where the deepest learning takes place.
While uttering the phrase “yes, and” is how we verbally engage with other people, the real weight of the words is the experience that comes with them.
We are acknowledging that we value that person and what they have to say. We’re partnering with them. We’re creating spaces where people can show up with the knowledge they have and learn new skills that will carry them forward in their careers.
“Yes, and” allows two seemingly diametric things to exist at the same time. Employees may complain training messes up their work schedule and they already know how to do x, y, and z, and training is important to ensure all employees are prepared for their roles because the way we do things evolves.
I encourage you to give this phrasing a try and see what shifts you notice in your training spaces and other interactions.
Do you have an interesting topic to explore or perspective to share? If you’d like to share your thoughts with our community, reach out to Communications@tdmaine.org.
Welcome back! We are about to kick off our 2023-2024 learning season and there are so many exciting things coming up.
Let's jump right back into our blog series and meet another board member.
This month’s featured board member is our talented and dedicated VP of Programs. Kathleen Kerr has been involved with ATD Maine for many years. She loves being of service and has been thriving in this world of virtual connection.
Kathleen describes the Maine ATD chapter as a welcoming group. She would tell you that the group does important and serious work without it feeling like hard work.
As Kathleen and I discussed work and ATD, I was drawn in by how she articulated her appreciation for virtual meetings. As a self-proclaimed introvert, she explained that working from home allows her the alone time she needs to fill her cup to be really available when she connects with people.
She explained how connecting with people via Zoom, when everyone is comfortable in their own space, has allowed for a different level of intimacy that can add to the quality of those interactions, and I couldn’t agree more.
One of her strengths and passions is connecting people to each other. Her sweet spot is learning about one person’s needs and introducing them to another person who can meet that.
If you have had the pleasure of attending training with Kathleen present, you know how talented she is at connecting people and concepts and encouraging discussion.
As the VP of programs, Kathleen spends a lot of time and effort finding, connecting with, and getting to know talented humans from many backgrounds. She loves researching people and meeting them and then taking all the knowledge they share back to her organization.
Kathleen is looking for volunteers to join the Programming Committee! If you’re interested in connecting with Kathleen, you can reach her at Programs@tdmaine.org
Have you heard? The New England Area Conference, or NEAC (nee-ack), is back and ready to go!
You may remember that NEAC was a fixture for our New England chapters before the pandemic. For ten years, it was the conference to go to for networking with learning and development/talent development professionals in the region while getting terrific professional development experiences.
That's what is coming up for you!
Register now to take advantage of the Advanced pricing and to get a discount on your room at the lodge!
That's Right! It's at the Great Wolf Lodge in Fitchburg Mass! It's this terrific mix of conference center and theme park! PLUS, it'll be the third week of October, so if you don't get enough beautiful Fall Color here, you'll get an extension, there!
Check out the presenters and the key note speakers!
Then collect your team--whether it is a team of one or a team of ten--and register for this fantastic event!
You won't wan to miss it!
This month’s featured board member told me she has a hard time keeping her hands in her lap. Whenever there’s a problem to solve or a role to fill, she’s quick to volunteer: raising her hand, jumping in, and finding solutions. She’s been involved with the local Maine ATD chapter, the national ATD conference, and New England area events for many years. This year, she became our chapter president…
Dawn spends her workdays training volunteers as the Adult Learning Director with Girl Scouts of Maine. She describes what she does as “teaching people how to work with other people's children.”
When I asked Dawn about her professional journey to where she is now, she took me back to her kindergarten classroom. Rather than describe herself as a “natural” teacher, she explained that as soon as she learned to read, she felt compelled to share that knowledge with anyone who would sit next to her for five minutes.
This desire to learn the codes of the world and share them with everyone else has driven her through a lifetime of learning, teaching, and leading.
Maybe my favorite phrase from my conversation with Dawn was when she described herself as “mostly nice.” One of the most refreshing parts of talking with Dawn is she recognizes that people are humans and that none of us are perfect.
I love how she held space for herself to be less than nice occasionally and we talked about the importance of offering ourselves and each other grace for those moments. As the president, Dawn leads this group of learners and volunteers with patience and respect.
Besides volunteering for boards and groups and projects, Dawn avoids sitting still by traveling. She has explored cities around the world and recently started adding road trips to more rural destinations. She shared that these off-the-beaten-path explorations tend to be some of her favorite trips because it’s a chance to experience a community that isn’t curating itself for tourists and simply witness how life there goes about.
In every story Dawn shares, her love of learning and experiencing life is palpable. She told me about a trip she took last year with her children. They hiked 100 miles in ten days through three countries, with no cell service. While acknowledging the challenges, Dawn clearly enjoyed the experience of exploring a new place in a new way.
You might find Dawn working with the Girl Scout leaders of Maine, or traveling on a back road somewhere, or hiking in a foreign country. Her only requirement: “not space.” But if it’s somewhere on Earth, she’ll probably volunteer to go.
Did you join us to learn about Positive intelligence in March?
A couple of weeks ago, we got to enjoy a great presentation from Kym Dakin about Positive Intelligence, a coaching model developed by Shirzad Chamine.
The training focused on identifying our personal Saboteurs. Kym explained that Saboteurs are tendencies we each have that work against us in certain situations.
By becoming aware of these tendencies, we can focus on counteracting those attributes with what the Positive Intelligence model refers to as our “positive Sage powers.”
Kym talked us through a mindfulness exercise and also a group exercise. Many participants were energized and excited by the group exercise that took the concept of brainstorming and brought focus to the group to generate a conversation that progressed toward solutions.
Kym encouraged us to acknowledge the value of each contributed idea by verbalizing a positive attribute and then build on the conversation by adding our idea with an “and” statement.
This training season our programming committee has been working hard to align our presenters and their topics with the ATD capability model. If you attended the training, did this coaching model resonate with any of the capabilities for you?
Did you think it was applicable to Developing Professional Capability? Maybe also Building Personal Capability? Did you see a way it would Impact Organizational Capability? Go ahead and be the one to start a discussion in the comments below!!
If you’re interested in exploring Positive Intelligence more, reach out to Kym.
In today's virtual world, it can be hard to get to know people. If the internet is particularly temperamental, we may not even be able to see their teeny tiny zoom box face. This blog series is your invitation to get to know your board members beyond their LinkedIn page! Tune in each month to meet a different board member and learn how to connect with them.
We’ll also be sharing short video profiles on our new YouTube page!
To kick this off, I thought I’d introduce myself. I am Andrea Maguire and I’m the new VP of communications. I joined ATD Maine last spring after moving to Maine and started working with Dawn (you’ll meet her soon) on communications projects.
I launched our Facebook page and Instagram account last summer. Managing social media accounts is a new endeavor for me and I’m learning as I go!
As the VP of communications, I am working to keep you informed of all the exciting things happening in our chapter as well as ATD on a broad scale. Did you know we publish a weekly blog? Each week you can look forward to meeting a board member, reading a recap of a recent monthly program, diving into the capability model, or finding an article highlighting an interesting talent development topic.
The communications team also publishes the newsletter and keeps the social pages updated. We’re always looking for people interested in volunteering. (It’s a great way to test the waters if you think you might want to get more involved with our chapter!)
Professionally, I am a learning and development specialist with Goodwill Northern New England. I get to work with an amazingly kind and creative group of humans every day. In my role at Goodwill, I am often supporting different business units in creating learning materials which is fun because I’m always meeting new people and learning new things about different roles at the organization.
I have held many seemingly divergent professional titles but always found myself gravitating toward coaching, mentoring, teaching, and training assignments. (I started my career as a professional ballet dancer! I was also a police officer.) I love the talent development field because I get to support people and help them succeed in their profession.
When I’m not working, I spend most of my time chasing my small children and experiencing them learn about the world. (If you need some pebbles, sidewalk chalk, or a spare pinecone, I’m your girl. My pockets are full. Also, I have snacks.)
I enjoy meeting and getting to know people, so please reach out and introduce yourself! If you want to learn more about the communications committee or get involved, email me at communications@tdmaine. If you want to get coffee and chat about work or life, I’m a perpetually sleep-deprived parent, so I rarely say no to an opportunity for caffeine and adult conversation.