Laurel and Associates, Ltd. – Madison, WI

Laurel Learning Tips

Tip #693:  Why Did It Happen?

On October 17, 2017, Posted by , In learning activities, By ,, , With No Comments

“Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful.”  Margaret J. Wheatley

In participative learning, it is important that each learning activity be debriefed to give the participants an opportunity to reflect on their experience and reinforce their learning.

It is just as important to have those involved in a critical work situation take time to assess whether the actions taken were effective and, if not, what should be done differently in the future.

I’ve always thought that it made sense to debrief a learning activity or management situation by asking these three questions:

  1. What went well?
  2. What didn’t go well, and why not?
  3. What did you learn?

Recently, I read … Read the rest

Tip #692:  Do Organizations Need “Best Practices”?

Today’s ‘best practices’ led to dead ends; the best paths are new and untried.” Peter Thiel

Implementing best practice is copying yesterday; innovation is inventing tomorrow.” Paul Sloane

Quality performance for businesses has typically included the use of “best practices.”

According to Wikipedia, a best practice is “a method or technique that has been generally accepted as superior to any alternatives because it produces results that are superior to those achieved by other means or because it has become a standard way of doing things.”

There are two problems with “best practices.”

First, while “best practices” may have generated superior results for some organizations, that does not mean they were effective in others. This is due to … Read the rest

Tip #691: Is No a Complete Sentence?

On October 3, 2017, Posted by , In learning, By ,,, , With Comments Off on Tip #691: Is No a Complete Sentence?

“You can be a good person with a kind heart and still say no.” Lorie Deschene

“Saying no can be the ultimate self-care.” Claudia Black

A friend who was passing through town needed someplace to stay, so he asked me if he could spend one or two nights at my house.

Like many of you, I’ve grown up with values encouraging me to be kind and helpful, and never to be selfish or put my own needs first. If he had asked me a number of years ago, I would have definitely said yes, even though it might have been terribly inconvenient for me. I would have felt too guilty saying no.

In the current instance, I looked at … Read the rest

Tip #690: Why Not Use the Tools We Have?

On September 26, 2017, Posted by , In training resources, By ,, , With Comments Off on Tip #690: Why Not Use the Tools We Have?

“If you get stuck, draw with a different pen. Change your tools; it may free your thinking.”  Paul Arden

This past week, I was faced with a dilemma. The shrimp I wanted to have for dinner was enclosed in a self-sealing bag. You’d think it would have been a simple thing to open it, right? But no, I absolutely could not get purchase on the two sides of the closure.

Hungry and not completely rational, I struggled for quite a while, getting more and more distressed. I tried using a rubber grip that I use to open recalcitrant bottle tops, to no available. Finally, I opened the kitchen drawer where I keep useful tools at the ready and pulled out … Read the rest

What I’ve learned from my international travels

On September 21, 2017, Posted by , In Travelogue, By , With Comments Off on What I’ve learned from my international travels

Pack all medications and a complete change of clothing

Wear compression stockings for long flights

Bring your own water bottle onto the plane

If you will be changing airlines, check to see how your baggage will be handled

If you will have a long layover, check to see if there is a Yotel in the airport

Realize that other countries use different power, so make sure you have an adapter that will handle it. If you don’t have an adapter, the hotel will most likely be able to provide one free of charge.

If you won’t be able to use your cell phone in another country, make sure to pack it where you can find it easily upon your return … Read the rest

Tip #689: Why Was Classroom Training Rated So Poorly?

On September 19, 2017, Posted by , In learning, By ,,, , With Comments Off on Tip #689: Why Was Classroom Training Rated So Poorly?

“Speaking for myself, I spend a good ten minutes a day deciding whether or not to read the results of new surveys, and, once I have read them, a further five minutes deciding whether or not to take them seriously.” Craig Brown

In “The Changing Nature of Organizations, Work, and Workplace,” Judith Heerwagen of J.H. Heerwagen & Associates and Kevin Kelly and Kevin Kampschroer of the U.S. General Service Administration note that work is now more: cognitively complex; team-based and collaborative; dependent on social skills; dependent on technological competence; time pressured; mobile and less dependent on geography.–work–and-workplace

Managers and employees need new skills to effectively manage these challenges- and they require learning and skill development options that go beyond … Read the rest