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Memo to Learning and Development Professionals: Chill

The team was gathered sitting around a table, and they knew what was coming. As if on cue, I jumped atop the table. In a moment of dramatic suspense, I looked each teammate in the eyes, one by one. And then the fireworks began.

“That was the worst, most pathetic excuse for a 2-day workshop that I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen some terrible, pathetic excuses for workshops in my time!”

Our boss tried to regain control of the situation, telling me it wasn’t my turn to talk.

“I’m out of order?” I shouted, incredulously. “I’m out of order?! I don’t think so! You’re out of order!” I shouted at my boss. Then I began pointing at each of my co-workers: “You’re out of order! You’re out of order! This whole team is out of order!”

Hmmmm. Maybe my memory is mixing that team de-brief from 2012 with an Al Pacino temper tantrum. Nonetheless, I remember being very frustrated, and very intense, with my teammates. Have you ever been there with your co-workers or clients?

I was reminded of this infamous episode last week during the eLearning Guild’s #GuildChat (if you’re interested in taking part in a future Twitter-based, live chat with L&D professionals around the world, definitely check it out on Fridays at 11am Pacific).

The chat moderator posed the following question:

I thought for several moments, but struggled to come up with a good answer (if you have any good thoughts, I’d love to hear them in the Comment Section below). I noticed one participant sharing his frustrations:

The implication seemed to be that there might be some sort of luddite-inspired conspiracy to limit the impact of technology in the classroom. Recalling my experience (tantrum) with my teammates in 2012, the lesson I learned was that there might be another way to look at things.

Sometimes there will be resistance to change because people like things the way they are. Sometimes there might even be a good reason to avoid introducing something new into the classroom.

Our role as L&D professionals, however, is not to get frustrated every time someone resists or rejects our ideas. Our job, as subject matter experts in what works in the area of professional development, is to identify the proper solution (whether low- or high-tech), and then show our colleagues or clients what’s possible.

If that doesn’t work, then our job will be to take a deep breath and then find a different way to show our colleagues or our clients what’s possible.

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