Bob Lavigna. Jim Kouzes. Hardly household names and when pitched against names like Richie McCaw and Dan Carter they are hardly a blip on the radar. Nevertheless, unlike the English rugby team, they are my heros.
Bob Lavigna led the research on employee engagement – a progression from ‘job satisfaction’ of the 1970’s to ‘commitment’ (1980’s) to ‘engagement’ (1990’s) ; that guides leadership development. Meanwhile, Jim Kouzes, along with Barry Posner, wrote the ‘Leadership Challenge‘. Published in 1987, with over 2 million books sold, the Leadership Challenge defines the ‘five practices of exemplary leadership’ and remains a definitive guide.
It hasn’t always been a beautiful relationship. I was introduced to these, and other leadership authorities during a research project required for my degree. It’s fair to say that my respect for them only really developed after the research report had been completed, the 3am nights were no more and the graduation ceremony was over. These days I am in awe of these researchers – their commitment to their work and the impact it has on leadership within our organisations.
So, it was a jaw dropping moment when an e-newsletter advertising a webinar featuring Lavigna and Kouzes arrived in my inbox. I registered right away and despite the 5am start (due to US time difference) it was a sacrifice I was willing to make (I thought of it as another rugby world cup final).
I became hooked on e-learning. I’m now a pro. I have learnt that as long as I register, the link to the recorded webinar is sent to me afterwards. 5am starts are no more – phew. My favourite time to listen is while cooking dinner, although sautéed onions on the laptop can be a hazard.
My frustration with webinars is not being able to see my icons in real life. Webinars are sound recordings with power point presentations and so I find I can get distracted easily. That’s where TED talks come in. ‘Short, powerful talks covering a range of topics from science to business to global issues’ TED talks encompass technology, entertainment and design using a wide range of speakers. I find them most useful when I come across a new and interesting book. Leading authors will often provide a synopsis in a TED talk recording. Listening to their TED talk is a great time saver and I get to decide whether I want to read their book and get more detail or NOT!
My e-learning experiences haven’t all been a bed of roses. There was the time I bought an online project management course. Reduced from the price of $279 to $30, it seemed like a bargain. It wasn’t. The content was a series of readings that were neither inspiring nor particularly helpful. As a ‘how to guide’ it seemed to have been written by someone who hadn’t thought much about the intended user and was hoping to make a quick buck. It would have been better to walk down to the local library and get a book on loan.
At BDC, we have developed our e-learning as a combination of the best features from our own learning experiences. Using the knowledge of Herrmann Whole Brain Thinking, best learning practice, our own research combined with videos using actors and real life situations, we have developed powerful learning tools for you to download in the convenience of your own time. We hope to become your heros.
Posted by Julie Varney