Podcast | Ask Nelson Anything – Performance Conversations, Legacy Tech, Free Trials And Flexible Working

October 14, 2022
June 26, 2023

Why is every performance conversation a chance to spot learning opportunities?

Do we need to scrutinise our existing tech with current challenges in mind?

Does competence breed confidence? And what’s L&D’s role?

These are just some of the questions we put to Nelson in our first Q&A episode!

And helpfully, the full list of questions make up the running order for the show – so you can either hit play for the whole conversation or jump ahead to anything that caught your eye!

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Running order

0:00 Intro to the show
1:53 Why is augmented reality so useful for learning transfer and performance support?
9:25 The problem with performance reviews and driving learning.
12:08 Every performance conversation is a learning conversation.
14:11 Which mindsets are L&D folks missing to take advantage of emerging tech?
19:20 Maximising the trial period of any product or tool.
24:05 Does Your Old Tech Solve The Current Challenges?
25:15 The importance of flexible working and learning.
32:20 Is an excessive meeting culture the enemy of learning?
36:50 Are employees causing the end of compliance culture?
39:44 The competence-confidence loop.

Six takeaways from the Q&A

How to stop “I’m not getting enough L&D” popping up in every performance review

There was a recent statistic from 360Learning that “in 67% of cases, the learning needs of individuals were not identified until performance reviews” – and we asked Nelson why we keep putting the cart before the horse in L&D.

It comes back to mindset: being outcome-focused rather than output-focused.

“If we were outcome-focused, we’d be trying to understand the performance challenges individuals are facing and how, as an organisation and managers, we could be supporting the individual to perform better”.

And until we change that mindset to a problem-solving one, we’ll keep hearing that people aren’t getting enough access to learning year after year. Eventually, they’ll lose engagement, everything learning-related becomes more difficult, and eventually they leave because we’re not supporting their development.

“Every performance conversation is a learning conversation…

… because if you’re underperforming or not meeting targets, the question we should be asking is why, why, why… eventually, you get to the root cause of the problem, and you can often solve that with learning and development.”

Learning problems often stem from performance, meaning there are learning opportunities hidden in every conversation about performance.

You’re not making the most of free trials for tech, and here’s why

“You need to focus people (when they’re trialling tech) on taking a problem-focused mindset. To think, ‘what problem are we trying to solve’ and to see whether this platform solves that problem.

“If you’re trialling any tool, I’d recommend having that clarity not around what features it has, but asking yourself which problems you want this tech or tool to help you solve.”

Create a checklist before you enter the trial, get stakeholders and the end users of the tech involved, and collect their feedback!

Your old tech might not be capable of solving new problems!

“The time, money and resources you’re spending on this tool that’s evidently not working, you could be spending that on trying out other tools and technology that might help you solve that problem.”

57% of employees recently revealed they feel legacy tech is holding them back! So, in the same way we’d ask ourselves whether a new tool helps overcome a challenge, we’ve got to scrutinise our existing tech for current suitability.

Augmented reality (AR) isn’t just a gimmick! It can drive learning transfer, performance support, and competence in real-life situations.

“With augmented reality, in the context of where we’re operating, we’re able to nudge people and show relevant learning to enable and support their performance in that relevant context.”

It’s also great for creating practice situations and scenarios that feel real – allowing people to reach competence far faster in an environment with less pressure.

BUT we need to resist the urge to use AR simply because we have it or it’s a popular buzzword. We should always start with the problem and assess which tools are a good fit for solving it!

And although AR users tend to sit in the 16-35 age bracket, Nelson made a great point that the tech we use every day (like smartphones) are incorporating it more and more. This increases access across age groups and makes it an even more useful tool for L&D.

Packed calendars are bad for learning, but so is an overload of synchronous work

Microsoft recently announced meetings will start at five past the hour by default because the back-to-back culture was causing poor brain function and high stress.

And we thought this was an interesting topic to get Nelson’s take on from a learning perspective.

He recommended asynchronous work and learning as a way to tackle packed calendars. Could a collaborative document be used in place of a meeting? But if we lean into it too much, we replace one problem with another.

“Packing in synchronous learning is just as bad as packing in meetings as the only way of collaborating with your team.”