#LDBravery blogs are Tony Jackson’s idea, sparked from a tweet by Julie Drybrough. Respecting both of them greatly, it’s my time to be brave.
I am a learning consultant. I work with companies to improve their workplace learning effectiveness. I love my clients. I am especially impressed at their bravery to jump aboard consultative L&D practice in a world which sadly persists with less effective, transactional, reactive course booking L&D. I enjoy seeing their journey unfold as their staff benefit from a social learning agenda which brings the best out in people, from experiencing learning through digital wonder, from valuing knowledge sharing kudos not knowledge as power. All these are the reasons I get out of bed in the morning, to share in the bravery of others.
So if am loving my consultancy, why am I looking for a job? Some of you will have read my blog (Lacking Creativity) about the summer. I tried to catch up on learning from others through books. I couldn’t do it as I’d planned. Reading at that time didn’t suit me. I was distracted with various ideas particularly how could I improve myself and my work. I filled my reading void with thinking time, Kairos time. My reflection concluded that the best way to push my business forward was to take myself to market, to become an L&D practitioner again, albeit on a part-time basis – I’m keen to do it to add value to my consultancy work not replace it (apologies if you are feeling a little cheated by the headline – annoying clickbait!).
I have utmost respect for those who exist fully in the consultancy world, who develop theories and models, who challenge the status quo, who give presentations on the profession. I enjoy being part of all that. However my heart truly belongs to making the L&D profession better with practical solutions. I would not be true to myself if I did not practice what I preach. I tweet daily at #NoPlasters with tips on how to do workplace learning better. But what right do I have? I have been out of L&D practice for well over a year now. How can I have any genuine practitioner credibility if I simply espouse models and theory?
I have moved around a lot in my life, but I never forget my roots; North West working stock. I guess this is the crux of my drive: Never Forget – a song played many times in my university union. I am driven to support the everyday L&D practitioner, because that is me, making a difference for learners in the world of work. I clearly remember how challenging and exciting that role can be. I want to do more than remember, I want to feel it, to live it now. I want to really understand if the profession is moving on, as we in consultancy keep discussing it needs to. I want to remain as connected as possible to the coalface of L&D. Whilst it is easy for a consultant to remain current by attending webinars, taking part in conferences, with Twitter and CPD, I am not able to fully understand the application of this if I remain only a consultant. During the time I’ve been freelance, I’ve always taken on projects to allow a practitioner view into my life. The most recent was writing and delivering the new CIPD digital L&D Level 5 qualification, and that project has now successfully launched. But was it brave for me to do that? It was very brave of the CIPD, an institute really turning the ship around under Gill White & Andy Lancaster’s guidance. But it wasn’t really my risk, personally or professionally. Where’s my brave space?
These are all the reasons my reflection pointed me towards being brave and working out loud in sharing this next experiment of my career. I am looking for a practitioner role whilst maintaining my Kairos Modern Learning consultancy. A modern and delicate balance I know is possible. Will an employer agree? We shall see. If there is such a thing, I’m on the hunt for a part-time strategic L&D practitioner role which will allow me to test my theories, implement my models, and continue the evolution of L&D. Rare as hen’s teeth? Maybe. I’ll let you know. And if you know of any such practical dream roles, please do let me know.