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Question of the Week: Where will you be in ten years?

Every week, one of our team poses a Question of the week via email. It can be anything. Recently we’ve had:

If you could live in one novel, which would it be, and why?
What’s the best birthday gift you’ve ever received, or given?
What’s the scariest thing you watched on TV or at the cinema as a child?
What percentage of each of the seven dwarfs are you – e.g., 50% happy, 30% grumpy, 10% sneezy, 10% bashful…? (I struggled with this one, as it involved maths.)

The questions are a great way to generate banter and, even within a team that has (for the most part) been together for more than 10 years, we’re still regularly learning new things about each another.

Last week’s question, from Zoe, was a particularly good one, I thought. Inspired by Danny Bishop’s profile on LinkedIn, she asked us what we’d each left school to do. 

Curiously (not), none of us envisaged working for a company whose greatest claim to fame would be inventing Trainers’ Library

Some of us started off with careers that we thought we wanted, whilst others drifted into careers that were as far removed from our dreams as marmite is from yoghurt. Some of us had no real idea what we wanted to do and only a vague idea of what we didn’t. 

None of us today have the same career dreams we had at 18. And all of us have changed industries at least once in our working careers. 

Does that mean that our previous experiences haven’t served us well? Of course not. Those earlier experiences have helped us each develop a unique set of skills that together in 2022, working in an industry we weren’t consciously aware of when we were 18, make for a team that is pretty invincible.

But what of the future?

Who in 2022 can, with any certainty, know what their world will look like in ten years?  Who can tell us what our priorities will be in ten years? Or what changes will impact our understanding of the world and our role within it?

Who knows what their organisations will look like in ten years? What the ‘office’ will look like? How we’ll all work?

Our worlds are constantly changing. Love it or loathe it, we live in a permanent state of flux. 

Given this lack of stability, Learning and Development surely shouldn’t just be about preparing people for the here and now. 

‘Just in time’ training has its place and, in some cases, is most definitely the right approach.  
But ‘just in time’ learning tends to be knowledge based and it’s always worth reminding ourselves that today’s knowledge is tomorrow’s ancient history. (For example, the equipment I methodically learnt to use in my first job at NatWest was discarded as obsolete about 30 years ago!)

The most successful Learning and Development teams are, in my view, those who help individuals recognise the value of their past experiences. Who know that learning is a continuous journey and that our behaviours and our ability to flex is driven by a combination of the skills and attitudes we acquire over time.

When we help people develop a positive mental attitude, resilience, adaptability, communication skills, the ability to negotiate and lead; well, that’s when we’re truly equipping people with the strengths that will enable them to meet and master whatever future their individual path leads them to.  

For one thing is almost certain: For most of us, that future won’t be the one we’re expecting today.  

Until next time…

August 16 2022Rod Webb

Rod Webb

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