Good Thoughts from #lrnchat on Being a Department of One

Good Thoughts from #lrnchat on Being a Department of One

#lrnchat is a weekly Twitter-based discussion among the community of training and elearning professionals. It occurs twice each Thursday, at 11:30-1pm EDT and then again at 8:30-10pm EDT. While structured as a collaborative discussion on the theory and practice of leading learning, the chat has its own ecology of peers and friends who provide thought-provoking advice, ideas and support. As I’ve been lurking and paticipating over the last few months, I’ve been tremendously impressed by the quality of information shared, the cohesiveness of the community and the sheer number of laugh-out-loud moments I experience. 

I missed this morning’s #lrnchat (topic: Working in a One Person Training Department), but after reading the transcript, I wanted to highlight some of the great thoughts on managing time and succeeding as an independent learning leader. These thoughts are surely not limited to learning departments of one—this stuff is great advice for anyone working independently.

What are the pros/cons of being a one-person training department?
• davedawes: Pros: Autonomy, flexibility and control Cons: Capacity, overwork, lack of support
• LaurenK: Pro: you get to make decisions. Con: you HAVE to make all the decisions.
• TriciaRansom: 1 person means no one to question your thinking. Unless you have some voices in your head

What methods/tools do you use to effectively manage your time in a one-person training department?
• LandDDave: Managing my Time: If I can automate a process, I do.
• TriciaRansom: And I had to learn the power of “No”. No is not a bad word, and one needed for your sanity.
• LaurenLK: Also BLOCK OUT work time — otherwise, always in a meeting, phone conf, whatever.
• RyanJSegrist: I do everything I can to streamline processes so I can free up time to be creative and “ideate”
• TriciaRansom: I literally book a small conference room for a “meeting”. A meeting between me and my deliverables!
• jmankeys1971: I schedule every minute of my Outlook calendar for the different projects I have so I can block time for everything
• PTKLearning: Tools are great to manage time, however managing expectations and external involvement is a different matter
• Nimblecopy: Chocolate as reward is effective
• TriciaRansom: I work assembly-line fashion: Make ALL job aids, then ALL assessments, etc. My brain likes it better than jumping

What advice do you have for others in a one-person training department?
• jmass: Take lunch, socialize with experts in other non-learning departments
• JaneBozarth: Again: Appoint yerself some deputies… train them use as guest/support faculty & facilitators
• MJK60631: Appoint ambassadors who will help spread the message. Peer groups are powerful in influence and far reaching.
• nimblecopy: Don’t be an unreasonable boss in your department of one
• c4lpt: Get rid of the term Training Dept and become a Business Performance Consultancy and really help people to do their jobs (better)
• LandDDave: Realize that if you look at yourself as a 1-person department, you’re already behind the 8-ball
• learninganorak: Ask a LOT of questions. Especially “What is it FOR?”
• TriciaRansom: I told someone once: Set boundaries and be RUTHLESS in enforcing them. It’s that or your sanity.

Final note: Hopefully the great ideas you see here will inspire you to share your ideas in this evening’s #lrnchat at 5:30 pm PST! For more information about #lrnchat, visit the blog.

Photo Credit: The Pioneer Woman