Unwrapping for Learning and Development Managers
Over the last few days you’ve probably sat and watched others opening Christmas gifts. Watching people unwrap presents tells you a lot about them.
How they unwrap, unwraps their L&D style.
The Chaos Monster
Picture the scene. A group of civilized looking people sitting in a living room.
They’re perched on their seats.
A well-meaning adult suggests “Well, shall we…?”
This is the equivalent of a starter’s gun going off. Everyone turns into The Tasmanian Devil.
The 6 year old with his laces tied identically. Even Grandma with her dodgy knees and bad back.
Everyone now has a present on their lap. There is tearing. There are wild arm movements. Sheets of gift wrap the size of the Mongolian plains fly through the air. Everyone is intent on discovering their prize.
There is a fleeting awareness that other people might be in the room.
Learning and Development for the Chaos Monster
Okay. You’ve got your work cut out for you. This lot likes things done fast. Pronto. They’ve things to do and are keen to get on.
They’re fearing thousands of PowerPoint slides each containing 16 lines of text that’s too small to read. Not that this is the kind of L&D you do. But they don’t know that yet.
Get creative. You’re not actually going to use fireworks but you need to put together a colorful session that can wow and take their breath away.
Vary the pace of the content. Rev it up and slow it down. Mix things up. Use humor. Put together a puzzle.
Be prepared to entertain as well as inform. High energy games let them release the same energy as ripping oceans of paper.
Give them opportunities to discover their own learning, demonstrate this and share it with the group.
This creates a focus on the process and outcome of a task and it also keeps people working to a schedule.
The Businesslike Bunny
The present has been lovingly wrapped. Beautiful bows are plumped up. There’s a balance of color and textures. It’s eye catching and has an element of Las Vegas about it.
The Thing of Gorgeousness is swiftly handled with surgical precision. The smallest gap has been created to release the gift and the wrapping remains virtually intact. It’s been carelessly discarded and now peaks out beside the slippers under the coffee table.
This group of folk focus on the process and what needs to be done to get to the good stuff inside the wrapping. To them, what’s inside matters, not all that glitter on the packaging.
Learning and Development for the Businesslike Bunny
To connect with this bunch, focus on The What of your training. Make sure the purpose and the benefit is clear and evident, and like the present in the gift wrap, that they can get at this easily.
To help you with this, imagine that after the session they meet a colleague for a coffee and the colleague asks them what your session was about.
Your aim is to create a learning experience that they can describe clearly and simply. And that they can encapsulate in just a few words how it benefited them.
This isn’t to say that it’s not important to make activities and tasks creative and stimulating – like good wrapping – but this group especially, is after substance.
So, think how you can offer experiences that let them quickly get the maximum value from your training session.
The Neat Freak
Order, order and order.
Wrapping is removed methodically, silently and without tearing the paper. Ripping is sacrilege.
The ribbon that has been twisted and turned more intricately than an Olympic gymnast will be unpicked with the patience of the Dali Llama.
Don’t ever give this person an aged Stilton. Chances are the neighboring continent will be smelling the cheese long before the gift is opened.
Learning and Development for The Neat Freak
Get your ducks in order. Plan your sessions. Icebreakers will help these individuals feel part of the group. Introduce your topic. Signposting is important to make sure they know what’s coming next and how long it will last.
Deliver any theory gradually, layer by layer. And for a practical exercise to demonstrate the theory, make sure you highlight how this exercise fits in with the theory and what the benefits of the exercise are.
Lastly, reviewing the learning is important. It’s the equivalent of that pile of neatly folded gift paper.
Of course in the real world you’re rarely met with a homogenous group of people. Instead groups are a mix of Neat Freaks, Chaos Monsters and Businesslike Bunnies.
So, it’s important to think about how each of them can get the most out of learning and development and mix up these elements.
The wrapping itself needs to be attractive enough to entice them and giving thought to constructing this is important.
And the present inside, the learning experience itself, should make a difference.
It should raise a smile, strike a chord and like all good learning and development, be something that can bring benefits professionally and personally.
Whatever the wrapping.