Making Sense of 2015 to Boost Success in 2016


How did 2015 go for you? Was it a good year, bad year, somewhere in between?

As you think about what you did last year, what learning gems will enrich your work-life this year? I ask because the seek-sense-share learning cycle Lisa and I follow includes reflecting on our experiences and applying our learning to our future decisions and performance.

books-677897_640Lisa’s blog post with its observations on 2015 and learning goals for this year intrigued me. I, too, am looking back at 2015 to decide what to keep, adapt, or discard. My insights are offered below. If you wish to enlighten or even rescue me, please comment on this post below or email us here.

Blogging for Me and You

I have found nothing better than bi-weekly blogging to make my learning transparent for myself and others. It has allowed me to explore learning from diverse perspectives, the impact of organizational silos on learning, aging well with internet-connected technology, fitness at work, and the tyranny of algorithms among other technology-related topics. Even when I was stuck in the blogging doldrums, I gained insight! Plus I benefited from Lisa’s blogging about internet technology’s impact on philanthropy, the viral vortex of social media, digital literacies, working out loud, future of work online, and top learning tools.

Look at the ease with which these published posts can be shared with readers. Amazing, isn’t it? And you–the reader–get to choose the topics to click through to based on your learning priorities and time availability.  In 2016, we will continue to blog weekly on our research projects and learning concierge practice.

The ROI of Social Media 

We like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn because they help us build our networks, share what we are doing with links to our blog posts and content we have curated, as well as find valuable resources to grow our capabilities. However, using social media as a marketing strategy has fallen short of our expectations.  Maybe our hopes were not realistic.

We are going to research to learn more about effective social media marketing practices. In the meantime, we will rely on social media to connect people to our working out loud activities and continue to follow and learn from those we most benefit from. Stay tuned!

Working and Learning Online  

Last year, we reached out to educators working in Adult Education, supported nonprofit board meetings online, and convened online support groups for other interests. We led workshops at face-to-face annual conferences and designed and hosted Encore Connect Online (ECO) for Encore Tampa Bay.

ECO_members_200pxBoomer participants used the four-month ECO experience to uncover aspects of LinkedIn, eresumes, infographs, networks, and how the changing workforce affects their re-entry into employment. Knowing how to use job boards and on- and off-line social networks turned out to be desirable skills prompting a job board study for Lisa and me.

ECO Bytes, a series of three 75-minute workshops for boomers in the Fall, trailed ECO. Lisa explained the central points for boomers wishing to continue paid work in today’s increasingly mobile, long-distance, and short-term work settings.

What did we conclude from WLS-led work online?

  • Making friends with those we meet online in purposeful conversation does happen … and joyfully so, as people hear and see each other at regular intervals. Strong relationships form.
  • Many adults are comfortable with traditional learning & training situations, i.e., the focus, pace, curriculum and content controlled by teachers-subject matter experts. In contrast, DIY (Do-It-Yourself) online learning and professional development on top of acquiring new tech know-how, picques yet intimidates many aspiring independent learners.
  • Workers who leave employer-provided technology & supported work environments must invest in their own internet-connected tools and build their digital know-how and participation if they wish to stay employable.

World of Work Organized into Projects

Prompted by popular media and research studies, Lisa and I are studying how the world of work is changing. We wrote about it here, here, and here. Our founding partner Lyn Boyer and I have also written about the value of projects for learning and action.

Now it seems that breaking down the work we do into projects on resumes is effective because it creates a PAR story, that is, the Problem-Action-Results of our accomplishments. It also shows our ability to lead relevant projects with pivotal impact; communicate & collaborate with others; research issues; reach consensus within groups; and generally adopt Greyhound’s tagline of “leave the driving to us” for start-to-finish responsibility for organizational initiatives.

The next time I want to present my value to prospective employers/clients, I will “project” my work.

Reinstating Boundaries

With the internet, all kinds of boundaries have come crashing down, much like Humpty-Dumpty, never to be put together exactly the same again.  I think that people are waking up to how their casual sharing of personal information on social media such as Facebook and Twitter can make them vulnerable to scary and damaging misunderstandings with prospective employers, friends, and people they don’t even know.  Lisa wrote about Justine Sacco’s fall from grace in a few short hours. Sacco impulsively shared a comment that was “misinterpreted as racist” by someone who didn’t know her. The result: global condemnation and loss of job while she was on an 11-hour flight.

All of us need to communicate carefully and effectively to minimize confiscation and misuse of our words. We need to realize, too, that the visibility of our ideas is much more than the single email we sent or tweet we posted to 100 trusted friends(?) & colleagues(?).

We also need to protect boundaries around our personal time and activities. All work and no play results in dull wits.  So, I plan to “unplug, take real vacations, dive into hobbies away from work, and use my energy wisely” a la Katie Bascuas. My five days in New Zealand last year without a phone or computer taught me that.

New Terminology

ship_final_webIn 2015 I became acquainted with new terms coined by thought leaders. Negative capability and human trim tabs from Tom Barrett, and learning agility are my new favorites. I’ll keep improving my language ability by following great writers (Maria Popova at brainpickings is one)!

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I send best wishes for health, happiness, fun and learning in 2016.  Bon voyage!  The journey has already started.

With exception of ECO participants’ and trim tab rudder pictures

other pictures shared by generous artists at Pixabay Free Illustrations  

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