Books & more books

I have a problem. I buy books. I used to buy actual books. Space and being green made me think twice. Now I buy e-books, Kindle to be exact.

When working on my weekly planner on Sunday, I set a goal to go through a book and blog about it tonight. Tonight has come. It’s been an intense work day and an even more intense home day (the great plumbing saga continues). Now, I don’t feel like reaching my step count or digesting a book.

What am I reading? I am about 30% through The Interestings. I recently finished Meg Wolitzer’s other book, The Wife, which is limited release movie getting rave reviews! Can’t wait for the movie! I discovered that I had somehow purchased 3 of Wolitzer’s novels over the past few years and read none of them. Told ya…I have problem.

Off to read!


Hooked by Nir Eyal

This is book one of 50 gazillion that I need to read. No offense to Eyal but I think I can skim read Hooked. It’s just not my certain of focus.

Triggers, I understand. Personally, I have a bunch of triggers that make me want to eat. The action also makes sense. If I eat chocolate, I get a dopamine reaction. That’s the reward that I anticipating.

This is where my life usually stops.

Hooked continues by explaining a variable reward and an investment increase the likelihood of repeating the behavior.

The reward varies from none, to small and life changing. This is where slot machines operate and create the hook in Hooked. The investment doesn’t need to be money, like a gym membership, it can be setting up your profile or investing time.

The goal is to turn the behavior into a habit. Our work with Axonify uses these principles. It’s not the training that hooks you…it’s the games, the leaderboards, and a chance to socialize with your peers over a shared journey.

Still struggling with swagger

This past week I had the awesome opportunity to be a guest on TLDCast. It was the first time someone turned my swag statement back at me. I literally ack-ed when I open the email announcing me as a guest and used my swag statement to describe me.

Upskilling Dr & Edu Futurist ~ Implementing Performance Improvement & 
Motivating Talent Towards a Better Future

I’m still struggling with imposter syndrome. My thoughts were: why did I write that? that sounds so braggy! they are going to think I’m full of myself and a fraud. Totally not what I should be thinking. The group was really receptive and I even did a quick talk about forming swag statements (and a plug for Judi Holler).


In search of therapy, I found this article from Fast Company. I’m somewhere between Superwoman and Natural Genius. I need to work on internal validation and doing things that I’m not always perfect at (isn’t that all the time??).

I think I’m a tad isolated too. I need to work more on discussing things with L&D peers. Off to the TLD Slack channel and Twitter.

Swag Statement

When my company hosted a Women’s Leadership summit back in April, the keynote speaker was Judi Holler. If you haven’t seen Judi speak yet, you should! She has amazing energy and communication. She breaks it down…you understand it…and you want to do it! Whatever it is.

In this case, it is a swag statement. She had each of us write a swag statement to be our personal mantra. Short, energetic, descriptive–the statement should be what you pull out when someone says, what do you do? I’ve gone through few iterations. I’ve collaborated with colleagues on it. We made a pact to post our statements live to LinkedIn by May 31. Mine is live!

Original: I am Dr. Improvement who helps others understand 
their work world so they can be their best.
Current: Upskilling Dr & Edu Futurist ~ Implementing Performance 
Improvement & Motivating Talent Towards a Better Future

I’m not positive that I would feel like me by answering, what do you do?, with I’m an upskilling Dr & educational futurist. It would grab attention more than what I usually say, Training Director (or Manager). That always get, Oh (nodding).

Perhaps upskilling is too buzzword-y or vague. Perhaps it opens the door for me to say the rest…implementing performance improvement and motivating talent towards a better future.

PS – I always enjoy getting to use a good tilde.

Code-a-thon is underway!

The instructional designers at work are 4 workdays into code-a-thon. They were excited about its start and the kickoff. Jazzed by the idea of selecting and finishing a tightly scoped project each day. But then there have been some groans when drawing a task slip from a bowl. One person even tossed the slip back in and drew again.

Two of the team members are ATD ICE this week. Leaving one in LV and one in Tulsa working on tasks.

I’ve overheard more collaboration on tasks and idea sharing. Hopefully, these grow into permanent habits.

Code-a-thon Prep

Last month, at Learning Solutions con, I attended the ecosystem demo. Jennifer Hofmann presented about a 30 in 30 campaign to create content around learning effectiveness (as I recall). The team worked together to prepare 30 learning interventions in 30 days. I was so inspired by this idea that I worked with the Training Dev manager to host a code-a-thon in May. We have 5 employees–3 FT instructional designers & 2 FT trainers who flex to ID–participating in 20 work days in May.

Details on our spin:

  • May 1 kicks off with backlog grooming, expectation setting, Q&A, and review of what interventions we can make (see menu below).
  • Each developer will draw a tightly scoped task each morning and have the day to complete. We have broken up larger projects into smaller tasks. There is no requirement that all the tasks completed for a project are completed by the same person. This brings in the “yes and” part of improv to go with the impromptu part of drawing a task out of a basket each day. Judi Holler spoke at Aristocrat last week about improv and being excited and being bad ass and a million other wonderful things. So we are bringing in options to be bad ass and stretching out of the comfort zone.
  • We will forgo the standard daily scrum for daily task selecting. We will save sprint review and showcase for May 31, at which time each person will share their top 3 interventions.
  • We will have some fun surprises and treats throughout May.

I’m super stoked about code-a-thon. It is creating a rigor in the task descriptions, knocking out a bunch of smaller projects that needed to get done, and energizing the team to stretch their minds.

PS – Aristocrat has the Game of Thrones license for slot machines so I tend to use variations of GoT memes a lot.

LS Menu

Upskilling for Successful Digital Transformation webinar…my thoughts

Link to webinar

Discussion by David Wentworth and Becky Willis focuses on broader topics than L&D. However, the upskilling project that I am working on for a business unit focuses on this need to get the workforce to the next level…transform them…upskill them. The statistics are mostly from Brandon Hall and World Economic Forum. It asks if you fear the digital transformation or welcome it. (Guess which I am?)

The main premise is finding the right workers with the right skills at the right time is becoming harder for employers and that impact is slowing growth in the economy. It also introduces the edcast certificates to close skill gaps. It becomes a bit of a sales pitch but it is still a helpful webinar.

I thought it was interesting that Pew Research finds that colleges are introducing new credentials and adjusting learning with “micro-masters.” Of course, this is where edcast comes in too! They have open source certifications.

In a broader sense, the speakers share the people skills and communication skills are becoming scarcer in the workplace. The ability to convey a thought, plan, or message to the team–regardless of your level on the team–is critical in the future. World Economic Forum is cited for this factoid along with this nugget: 35% of skills will change within 5 years, as opposed to the previous 20 year change period.


Specific to L&D, the message was again about curating, putting influencers and SMEs in the creation seat, and let L&D team help blend the content to make it consumable. #informationoverload They make the case of UX designers, HTML5 programmers, web designers, game designers, and AGILE designers to join the L&D team.

My plans based on takeaways:

  • Take UX courses on LinkedIn Learning
  • Encourage my team to take UX and AGILE courses
  • Consider someone getting a UX certification
  • Work with leaders of the workforce that needs upskilling to make sure the processes are efficient and accurate before digital transformation
  • Include communication, people skills, and critical thinking skills in the upskilling
  • Check out edcast


Side note: I have a PhD and I totally want to get a master’s in change management or a cert in UX.