I recently returned from TICE 2018, the Training Industry Conference and Expo, in Raleigh, North Carolina where I was invited to speak during a breakout session over the 3-day conference. Overall, the conference was a positive experience as a speaker and attendee and I’d like to share a few of the highlights that resonated with me. But first…
What Is TICE?
TICE is a learning event hosted by Training Industry, focused on building effective leaders in corporate learning and development. Attendees are typically from the fields of human resources, training, and L&D including consultants, instructional designers, I/O psychologists, and more and come from all different industries. The goal is to provide an environment where these groups of people get together to collaborate, share challenges, and discover solutions to overcome organizational barriers and create alignment through learning technologies, content, delivery, and metrics reporting. Since it is also an expo, there are dozens of vendors present to satisfy all your learning needs from leadership development assessments to performance measurement software and everything in between. Here is a list of vendors.
There were 54 sessions to choose from in tracks on Performance Management, Content Development, Leadership Development, Learning Technologies, and Data and Measurement. It was difficult to decide which sessions to attend because there were so many interesting topics!
My session entitled, “Why are we still talking about millennials: strategies for cultivating a positive multigenerational workforce,” was part of the Performance Management track. I received excellent feedback from the attendees via the post session survey and look forward to continuing conversations with interested individuals looking to help their organizations promote generational diversity more effectively to reach better business outcomes.
For those of you who are social like me, there were plenty of opportunities for connecting with other attendees. Cocktails and an awards dinner as well as a networking reception provided after hours chances to engage with others to continue expanding your network.
As an attendee, I soaked up nuggets of knowledge from the sessions I joined and compiled my top 6 takeaways:
1. Importance of personal branding
Tiffany Poeppelman from LinkedIn opened the conference in her keynote, “Personal Branding for L&D Professionals.” She emphasized that personal branding should be a priority whether you are self-employed or working within an organization. L&D professionals have a unique position in that they act as business advisors in companies which increase their presence. Therefore, have an influence on leadership and help shape business objectives. Tiffany walked participants through a series of tactics to develop your personal brand and ensure it is aligned with the mission of your organization:
Reflect on your values, motivation, passion, and what you are/want to be known for.
Write your brand statement - 30 words or less, list areas of expertise, list problems you solve, be authentic.
Build your network offline through conferences, speaking engagements, internal team projects, and community involvement.
Share your knowledge online. Comment, share, like, write content, follow industry trends and companies you admire, and be strategic with the frequency of posts on social platforms.
2. The future role of L&D
An executive panel with veteran L&D leaders offered their perspective on the future direction of corporate learning. The panel consisted of professionals from Walmart US, Training Industry, First Citizens Bank, Ericsson North America, and a performance researcher and expert. These high level, seasoned leaders shared their thoughts on what they believe are the biggest challenges facing corporate learning and trending topics like AI, chatbots, and leveraging data. I found that Vidya Krishnan, Head of Competence and Capability Consulting at Ericsson North America, had very insightful information about the future of L&D roles. She said that the roles are changing from an entire position around something to that being a skillset that we possess, we need to be better at what we do than how we do it, and we are builders of an ecosystem. Companies are changing, the products and services provided look different, and therefore the way we learn and develop must shift too. As L&D professionals, we must act as the support system that helps people achieve these business goals by customizing our services based on their individual needs.
3. Negotiation strategies
Alison Fragale, PhD at UNC Chapel Hill was one of my favorite speakers I’ve seen. Her talk entitled, “Negotiation: The Swiss-Army Knife of Relationship Management” was fact based with her extensive research and very funny and entertaining. She discussed L&D professionals’ need to manage and thus negotiate with different stakeholders from instructional designers to consultants, facilitators, participants, and leaders! Because negotiation is a process that many people fear and it makes us uncomfortable there were a few key pieces that I related to especially as a young woman. She explains that there is both an art and science to negotiation - women must assert their own self-interest and communicate to people that they care about the “other” person. She said to remove words such as “I’m just trying to be honest,” “reasonable,” “fair solution,” or “generous offer.” These words and phrases, used during negotiation with another, indicate that you believe what you are recommending or offering is the best solution for the other person therefore implying that you are smarter or higher level than them.
4. Practice makes perfect, or does it?
Dr. Paul Hersey of the Center for Leadership Studies once said, “Practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.” In this session, Drs. Sam Shriver and Tom Whelan discussed how leadership development programs over the past several decades have provided existing and emerging leaders with the knowledge and tools to guide direct reports to achieving business goals in a more effective way. The presenters’ big question is whether these leadership development programs are offering leaders opportunities to master what they’ve learned? New research is stating that we choose what goal or outcome we desire and try new strategies to achieving it. We tweak along the way until it fits and then you keep at it until you reach the goal you set out for initially. Being that I spend most of my work-life in leadership development programs, it would be helpful to know whether these managers are taking their knowledge and putting it into practice the right way to amplify their success. If they aren’t practicing the right thing, chances are they won’t achieve results. The presenters are embarking on a study to determine the impact of practice in leadership.
5. Manage as a coach
I loved the session, “Manage as a coach: transform employee engagement and relationships” because it reiterated the importance of incorporating coaching skills and conversations in the role of leaders. I am working on this right now at work so it resonated with me. Dr. Janet Lockhart Jones discussed how managers can transform their role from being the boss to being a coach and the benefits it has on the engagement, performance, and relationship of the employee. By coaching and asking powerful questions placed at the right point, employees can derive solutions or uncover barriers themselves that will lead to changes in process or behaviors that is sustainable. Leaders must move away from playing the role as advice givers and instead ask powerful questions that help lead their direct report to answers and solutions viable to their challenges.
6. Rehumanizing the workplace
Emotional Intelligence expert, Kris Girrell led a keynote session on rehumanizing the workplace and in the world of smart phones and advanced technology, this topic is relevant to all of us. He opened his presentation with a powerful story and example of marathon runners. As a marathon runner himself, he described the pressure to perform and insane competition in the races today. As people put their bodies and minds through physical pain and stress by choice to complete a marathon, he states that companies do the same thing! To rehumanize the workplace, we need to get to the bottom of emotional intelligence by uncovering our:
He stated that the ABCD’s of EI help us deal with stress (although C comes before B):
A. Antecedent event – what actually happened?
C. Consequential emotions – feelings associated with A.
B. Belief in place – because, always, never – why do I believe or think a certain thing/way?
D. Dispute the belief – how do you know or what else?
There was loads of takeaways from all the other sessions I attended but these stuck out to me most. I look forward to attending TICE 2019 and hope you consider it too!