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TrainingZone Live 2012: Review

25th May 2012
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Last year's interim editor Martin Couzins was one of the many delegates who attended our event last week. Here's his review.
With the Olympic Games little more than two months away it was fitting that TrainingZone Live 2012 started and ended with the Olympic theme.
The day started with a look at the OD and L&D challenges - and the solutions - at the Olympic Delivery Authority, the organisation responsible for the delivery of the infrastructure at London 2012.
What made the keynote by Michele Owens, head of HR and OD at the Olympic Delivery Authority, so interesting was the nature of the project – multiple stakeholders across many countries, endless publicity, huge workforce and of course a deadline that could not be moved. Added to this, the project is relatively short-lived and has many distinctive phases. Owens said the L&D strategy took two years to get up and running and working effectively. Key to this was senior team buy-in using coaching.
The coaching was very successful, she said, and its success then filtered out into the organisation and was adopted across the business. The focus at the ODA was on self-managed learning - all staff were provided with a range of options, from elearning to coaching.
After the opening keynote, delegates split into their pre-selected sessions. There were a wide range on offer including three linked sessions from Jim Kirkpatrick. 
I attended session on tools for effective blending by Julie Wedgwood, developing Gen Y at online retailer Asos and how to develop positive power and influence. Wedgwood provided delegates with a range of free tools that can be used for delivering a blended learning experience. You can see the list here.
I caught up with Wedgwood after her session and asked her why more learning and development professionals aren’t using these types of tools. She said two of the big barriers were finding the time to look at these tools and working out how they could best be used.
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Louisa Fryer, L&D partner at ASOS, ran a session which showed how the company uses forum theatre for its appraisal process. She said that this style of training had worked well for her mostly Gen Y employees and managers. I asked Fryer about what Gen Y L&D looks like. The focus is on what she called ‘accelerated learning’ and bite-size chunks of learning.
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Dr Nicola Lincoln’s session on influence looked at typical influencing behaviours people adopt in face-to-face meetings. She talked through typical British influencing behavior and how it compares to that of other nations and areas around the world. Lincoln said that the best approach to influencing was to mix push and pull (listening and then saying what you want) depending on the situation and who you are trying to influence. The bad news for Brits is that we tend to waffle and are not very good at saying what we want.
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The day ended with a keynote from Steve Backley, who won bronze and two silver Olympic medals for javelin in consecutive games.
Backley provided insights into what makes an Olympic athlete and shared his five success traits:
  • Have a passion - people like to win, those who really want to win, those that need to win
  • Create a self belief
  • Be clear about where you want to go
  • Deliver your maximum performance
  • Surround yourself with talented people
His was both a humble and humorous performance which delighted delegates.
The day provided broad perspectives on L&D, from strategy to ideas on delivery to practical steps and tools an L&D professional can make use of in their daily working routine.
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