Category Archives: opinion

Downsizing Casualties – A form of Professional PTSD?

HR Planning and Strategy courses eventually come around to the distasteful topic of “downsizing”. They talk about “survivors” and politely organic methods of reducing headcounts, like attrition, and smart moves like work redesign and evolution, but there are many times when an organization – rightly or wrongly – just chooses to cut bodies. 

For those of us who have been through it, it’s an awful, heart-wrenching experience. 

In many cases, we want to be a survivor. We want to be the ones found worthy or valuable and we can continue with the polite fiction of “better them than me”, and “they’ll be OK”.  Or we just don’t think about it at all, hunker down, and get our work done, hoping we won’t be next as we look at empty workstations or see stunned staff getting walked out the door. 

Don’t kid yourself. It’s hell. It’s one of the things HR professionals and Managers have to deal with and it’s often the result of failure to evolve, manage resources, or make incremental decisions. THIS is the human cost to an organization. THIS is where corporate goodwill takes a significant beating. Yes, I know there’s no obligation to provide jobs for life (Hello, City of Toronto…) I get that. However, the psychological contract people engage in with an organization is not insignificant and one that takes its own beating and we don’t have a word for those who aren’t Survivors. 

Corporate divorcee? 

Cast-off?

Moved to the organizational “friend zone”?

HR folks…if you’ve achieved your seat at the table you can help influence these decisions. I’m not saying not to reduce headcount. What I am saying is that there are other ways to incrementally and intelligently help Management make the best use of their workforce and their human capital. There is an increasing body of study showing that layoffs or downsizing efforts are counterproductive in the long-term. So…wouldn’t it be nicer for your organization to have a cohesive group that could collectively weather a downturn and take pride in their efforts to bring an organization back to viability? 

Don’t leave a string of human casualties in the wake of organizational myopia or inaction. That psychological contract means an awful lot to the folks who are about to be shown the door, whether they admit it or not. Instead, let them become part of the solution instead of feeling like they are part of the problem. Harness that psychological contract for the betterment and transformation. 

Think about what kind of organization you might have then…

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REBLOG | No I won’t speak at your event … for “exposure”

This came to my attention via Jane Hart through my Twitter feed.

I admit, I’m conflicted.

One one hand I get what he is saying, in that if you’re charging people to attend and event, it doesn’t necessarily align with asking speakers to donate their time when participants are paying for the privilege.

On the other hand, not all of us are so fortunate that we can demand speaking fees if asked to participate. In some cases, us “common folk” may welcome the exposure associated with such requests and – if they make sense – we may well jump at the chance.

What are your thoughts?

No I won’t speak at your event or write for you for “exposure” | Media tips.

What’s the Story on Learning Styles? | Faculty Focus

We have this tendency in higher education to throw babies out with bath water. It derives from dualistic thinking. Either something is right or wrong, it’s in or out, up or down. As mature thinkers, we disavow these dichotomous perspectives, but then find their simplicity hard to resist. They make complicated things easy.

[…]

Any number of us have had our doubts about learning styles. The instruments that detect, name, and classify these various approaches to learning just seemed too straightforward. How can there by only two or even four styles? And how can every learner fit neatly into one of those boxes? We also worried about how students responded to them. “I’m a visual learner,” one told me, “I don’t do textbooks.” A certain learning style then excuses one from other learning modalities?

via What’s the Story on Learning Styles? | Faculty Focus.

My take:  This is a detached and well-reasoned discussion on the polarizing issue of Learning Styles. What I like is that it goes beyond the purported lack of scientific rigour and speaks of the impact on learners themselves, e.g. “I’m a visual learner”.  If nothing else, this article should be required reading on both sides of the ongoing debate.

Talking Tools Evaluation and Lessons Learned on eLearnTV

I had a thoroughly enjoyable Skype video chat with Rick Zanotti and Dawn Mahoney on Jan 14 where we talked about selecting authoring tools, some lessons learned on short-notice deadlines, and a surprising geographical connection.

It’s nice to be able to add this to some of the #workoutloud and #showyourwork activities going on. Sharing what we do is important to the growth of our discipline.

Your feedback is, of course, always welcomed.

A borrowed rant, but one I can relate to

A good friend and former co-worker recently posted an open rant on FB after receiving a take-home package following the first day of school. While the spin is Canadian, I think lots of us can relate, particularly those with school-age kids.

<open rant> My school board has been taken over by lawyers! First day of school package includes: new policy on locked schools, warning that kids can strangle themselves in playground, numerous release forms for everything you can imagine (same info 8 times). My favourite form informs me that “participation [in recess] involves risk of injury, minor or serious, including permanent disability.” Here is my favourite part: “For specific examples of injuries related to the activity, contact the school.” Really?
Dear School Board Administrators: stop watching CNN and Fox. Please focus on providing an engaging educational environment. Stop teaching my kids that the world is hostile. We live in Canada!
Thank you.
</end rant>

So, where exactly do we start with this?

When did the start of school trigger a flurry of this kind of liability paperwork? Where have we, as a societly, allowed the public education system to degenerate into this politicized, litiginous, bureaucratic juggernaut? I dunno about you, but I’m starting to look for the remaining three horsemen.

Leaving ADDIE for SAM. With a Crossbow?

I got a chuckle out of the reaction from some of my valued PLN members when I shared a photo of a (nerf) Crossbow training aid from today’s “Leaving ADDIE for SAM” workshop. *

I was laughing at myself because, in hindsight, I probably should have added a little context to the image. Read the rest of this entry

Dear CSTD…why you should stop talking about Learning Styles

While this response is directed to the good folks at CSTD, I leave it as a public artifact for those interested in the whole Learning Styles thing.

There was a time when I admit that I subscribed to the concept of Learning Styles. I also understand why there’s an instinctive sense-making and buy-in when people look at it. Whether you subscribe to Kolb (1984) or to the VAK theory, we generally accept that people tend to learn in different ways.

Yes.

But… Read the rest of this entry

Stanford MOOC Assignments and Disconnects

I had a chance exchange via Twitter with someone I have followed for a while, Joyce Seitzinger. She’s well-respected in Moodle circles, and is also an active participant in DNLE and regularly contributes through the Twitter #DNLE hashtag.

She was expressing some frustration with the nature of assignments and their (relative) lack of instructional/learning design.  I have to say, I agree with her.  Read the rest of this entry

Article Commentary – Graphics for Rapid eLearning (Lectora Blog)

I caught wind of an article about “Graphics for Rapid eLearning“, thanks to a link provided by Jennifer Brick. Given that this the visuals associated with learning are an interest of mine, reviewing the article was a no-brainer.

However, I saw a few things that didn’t quite sit right, so….

Read the rest of this entry

Rapid ID and Rapid Dev? Yes! But…

Thanks (yet again) to Twitter, I came across a post by Karen from Langevin Learning Services (@karencar_ID) who shared an offering from the folks at Bottom Line Performance in Indianapolis (@BLPIndy). The substance of this post was whether or not Rapid Design and Rapid Development were possible. BLP’s inspiration was another entry from the widely read Rapid e-Learning Blog.

My immediate reaction was, “Yes, but, there are some caveats.”

Read the rest of this entry