Well-constructed and delivered staff training/development programs represent a
“value-added” investment in an organization.
The evolution of a team or organization depends on continuous growth. Forward looking leaders understand the importance of continuous professional development opportunities for their followers. PD should not be hit or miss—and it should never be considered a “luxury.” The leader must have a plan….and that plan must take into account the needs of the team members as well as the team itself.
I had the opportunity this past week to work with an energetic and positive group of higher education professionals at the Wyoming Student Affairs Conference in Jackson Hole. Once again, I came away convinced of the power of the crowd. Gatherings such as WSAC allow for what Tony Hsieh (Zappos) calls collegial collisions. By creating situations that bring colleagues together the chances for collaboration, creativity, and communication increase.
One of the benefits of teaching is that we have the opportunity each class period to close the classroom door and orchestrate our daily lessons and strategies. And that benefit can also be a detriment as it can become an easy habit to erect our own small silos as we become more and more insulated from what happens around us. We miss out on those collegial collisions. And this can happen in any field. In the day-to-day hustle and bustle it can become easy for silos to develop. I have seen it in teaching. We get immersed in our disciplines and individual classes.
Video recommendation for the week:
Bringing people together in state, regional, national, and international professional settings can stimulate change and innovation. Chris Anderson speaks of the benefits Crowd Accelerated Innovation.
*Crowd. The gathering of a large group of people who share a common interest. Bringing people into close physical proximity provides a fertile setting for innovation. These people create an “ecosystem” says Anderson.
*Light. Once the crowd assembles, it provides an opportunity for you to show your stuff and colleagues to share theirs. That is, there is opportunity for empowerment—and that can stimulate change and innovation.
*Desire. Once the collisions and exposures occur, doers get stoked to roll up their sleeves and do the work needed to bring about innovation.
Even if large scale change does not develop, seeds are planted and relationships developed and strengthened. Let me give you three quick examples from WSAC.
1. After my keynote about developing resiliency, Chelse shared two powerful video links that she found to have powerful impact on her students. I will use these with my students–and colleagues.
2. Rick, a coach and faculty member, shared how his athletes develop their skills and habits with “deep practice.” This led to conversation about how strategies on the practice field can be applied in the classroom.
3. I had the opportunity to have dinner with a wonderful group from Laramie County Community College. During our dinner conversation, Julie helped me better understand federal financial aid guidelines—and what colleges have to do to help students understand their obligations.
Too often staff training/development is viewed as a “perk and boondoggle” rather than the “value-added” investment it can be. This is shortsighted. In fact one can argue that it is especially in those lean times that we need MORE opportunities for collisions, seeing what others are doing, sharing what you are doing–and creating an atmosphere for innovation and growth.
A tip of the hat too WSAC and all of the other organizations who place an emphasis—a priority—on personal and professional development. They provide opportunities for communication, collaboration, and creativity by creating a space of caring for the people in their callings.
Make it a wonderful week—H.T.R.B. as needed.
Information on my newest book, Choices for College Success (3rd ed.), can be found at Pearson Education.
(c) 2014. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.