Slowly Waking

For all you lovely busy people suffering from TLDR (Too Long Didn’t Read), this post is mostly about resisting the temptation to rush everything. You may now get your head back down and charge off to your next meeting. The rest of us might choose to read on…

The past couple of weeks have been a wonderfully paced return to work, after a thoroughly relaxing three week family adventure around France. I didn’t plan to have such a rhythm in my return to work, but I think it’s been hugely helpful. A couple of days into this reawakening I scribbled this note on Facebook:

‘My body is back from holiday. I fully expect my brain, heart and soul to join it sometime in the next few days…’

My friend Heather Bussing responded with this:

‘It happens that way to protect you from the shock. And because there really isn’t a rush, despite the insistence otherwise. If everything came back with your body, the cognitive dissonance could cause instantaneous human combustion. Relax. Your life depends on it.’

Heather knows her stuff, so I’ve tried as best I can to follow her advice. In the time between then and now, I’ve reflected a couple of times on the importance of the stories behind numbers and data, and it seems to me that we tend to jump towards, and cling to the figures because they’re immediate. Instantly convincing. We are 46% more in a rush than this time last year, and therefore 82.9% more likely to believe this, or something.

I took the opportunity to attend the first day of Learning Live this week. It’s rare for me to simply attend an event. I’m often running workshops, speaking and/or writing, and in this period of reawakening it was absolutely lovely to be among people enthusiastic about learning and development, and only be expected to soak up as little or as much as I wanted.

I chose to listen to Owen Ferguson speak about the importance of agile methodology in L&D. Owen spoke from the perspective of the product development part of his business. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about agile, and here’s The Agile Manifesto (copied from the Wikipedia page and used in Owen’s talk:

‘We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work we have come to value:

  • Individuals and interactions over Processes and tools
  • Working software over Comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over Contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over Following a plan

That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.’

I found the talk interesting and I think there’s more to be done in exploring how to use agile methodology in the more behavioural side of L&D, as well as in the development of product.

I chose to listen to Sukh Pabial talk and facilitate conversations about being your best self at work. I enjoyed the cocreative aspects of the session and I’ve asked Sukh if I can incorporate a couple of his ideas into my own session on collaboration over in Ohio next week.

I chose to converse with many smart people at the event – too many to mention. I chose to go to the dinner in the evening, and enjoyed wonderful conversations through many chance meetings. I even chose to help write a song before we sat down to dinner, thankfully – it was beautifully sung, by Alex Watson, not me!

I’m now ready to switch up a gear and change my cadence again, which is a good job as there’s much work that needs doing! Times like this are great fun and for most of us, they aren’t sustainable. Much like Neil Morrison wrote about recently, times like this are often at the expense of something else. You could, with sufficient justification I’m sure, say I’ve missed out on things by coming back more slowly than usual. My body came back from holiday a while back, and my brain, heart and should have finally joined it. I’m delighted they chose to take their time.

Author: Doug Shaw

Artist and Consultant. Embracing uncertainty, sketching myself into existence. Helping people do things differently, through an artistic lens.

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