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Me, a Left-Hand Drive Dog and Normality

9th Jun 2021
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A few weeks ago, following our move to France, I was finally reunited with my two horses. They’d been due to arrive in the first week of December, but their move was delayed by numerous Covid and Brexit related barriers, which at times felt insurmountable. The biggest problem, post Brexit, was that the folks at Defra seemed to imagine that because my old boy is not registered (i.e., not a pedigree), I might be exporting him for salami. Presumably, since he’s 27 years old, extremely tough salami. 

Anyway, they’re here now and I couldn’t be happier. 

The other day, my dog Charlie joined me when I took my younger horse out for a ride to the local forest. It was just like old times; except it wasn’t quite, it transpired, for Charlie.

For, as we set out along the lane, with Charlie following, I quickly realised I’d not considered one important factor; I have a left-hand drive dog. 

Poor Charlie could not comprehend why I was suddenly riding on the wrong side of the road! Try as I might to persuade him that being on the right was now normal, he would not cross over, insisting instead on sticking to what he knew, following us on the opposite side of the road and looking at me as if I’d fianlly lost my last marble.

It’s fair to say that collies form habits very quickly; it’s one reason why they’re so easy to train; and they love routine! But that’s made adapting to this new normality a real problem for Charlie. And it’s easy to see why he’s confused. The world looks, mostly, the same. The people in it are the same, and yet, for no apparent reason, their behaviours have changed.

Which got me thinking about all of those people looking forward to “getting back to normal” in 2021. The truth is that after what has been, for many of us, the greatest upheaval of our lives, our own normalities have almost certainly permanently shifted, and in ways we may not yet fully comprehend or understand. 

Take managers, for example. Many of the people they manage had to adapt to working from home; a return to the workplace is going to involve a major change. For some that will be a welcome change; for others it will be less welcome. Many organisations have already recognised that a more flexible approach to what constitutes the workplace in future is going to benefit them and their employees. But w'ere also already seeing resistance to new flexible working practices from some quarters, perhaps most surprisingly, Apple, which in itself has led to a backlash from employees unhappy with the demand to return to the office. The changed world is going to mean managers need to acquire and develop new skills, new thinking and a new approach to leadership.

And what about trainers looking forward to getting people back in the classroom? Undoubtedly, that will happen, but I still expect demand for virtual training to increase, not diminish as we emerge into our own new normal. Organisations and delegates have seen that virtual training can be effective, particularly when it’s done well, in bite-size chunks and in small groups. And we’ve all seen how it can save time and money, make it easier to fill events, and bring people together from far afield.

The blended approach to learning, involving virtual, distanced and classroom learning that many of us have been paying lip service to for 20 years (and I hold my hand up here because I never fully embraced it in the way I do now) will be an integral and fundamental part of the learning and development professional’s life going forward. 

Luckily for you, with a great range of materials covering remote teamwork, remote management, and self-management, Trainers’ Library can help you enable people to adapt to their new normality. And with a library of engaging training materials designed specifically for remote delivery as well a library for face-to-face training, both of which are supported by e-learning and video content (which Enterprise members can even host on their own LMS) we can help you adapt to yours too. Get in touch if you'd like to know more. 

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