Learning from it

Cleo wade

I saw Cleo Wade speak when she was in Auckland for the Semi Permanent conference a few years ago. I have never seen someone with such an open heart stand on stage and be herself - with such a strong message of love. She was SO powerful, I began to believe in our power to change the world for the better again. Go Cleo.

And in direct contrast was the host, who seemed so overcome with nerves, he truly wasn’t standing in his own power (which by the way is pretty darn great) - what a message in believing in yourself. WOW.

Today’s message is truly resonating with me - learning from it…

Sourced from Cleo Wades instagram feed.

The sandwiched trifecta - is this you too?

‘Reservoir birds’ by NZ artist Brad Novak (original owned by Quentin Tarantino)

‘Reservoir birds’ by NZ artist Brad Novak (original owned by Quentin Tarantino)

I don’t know about you, but I’m living my role as part of the “sandwich generation” this week. I have the song “stuck in the middle with you” from Reservoir Dogs going round and round in a loop in my head. This song is perfect to my predicament too, as Reservoir Dogs was one of the defining movies of my (and many Generation X’s) history, and the “sandwich generation” is made up of mostly of us also. (Side note - see video link below if you’d like to remember this song and Reservoir Dogs’ moment in history - warning graphic violence ensues. If you’d like the song and no violence, then watch the 1970’s original from Stealers Wheels instead).

What is the sandwich generation?

The Sandwich Generation includes those of us who, usually about the time careers are taking off at work, also care for our aging parents while supporting our children (who, in record numbers, still live at home past their 20’s) - it’s the impact trifecta - more work, more family stress, less time. In Australia, they estimate this to be 2.6 million unpaid caregivers, and in the States this is one in every 8 people. That’s a lot of people sandwiched by life forces.

Sandwiched at work?

Right now Gen X leaders hold more than half (51%) of leadership roles globally are are leading the way in a time of great change with technology advancement, how jobs are automated and created, and how businesses are designed and transformed (say DDI). Though we are still sandwiched (there’s that defining word again) between the Boomers, who will stay in their jobs longer, and Millennials , who will be over half of the workforce very soon.

I’m not usually a fan of generation-defining, as I know we are all individuals. However, I got such a huge response from my last blog post, I hear many of you are feeling the squeeze in the middle too, as are HBR writers, so let’s keep talking.

Are Gen X leaders up to the challenge of leadership in these exponential times?

Will the ‘future of work’, with all it’s expected flexibility save us?

My way to deal with this stress has apparently been to quit my job and hum violent tunes (amongst other more useful ways like meditating and exercising) - how do you deal with stress and become more resilient?

Thanks again for joining me on this journey of finding resilience in our lives - both at work and at home. Since these overlap so much these days (as email and phones come with us everywhere now, even on holiday), there is no work-life balance anymore, it’s all one joined-up hopefully balanced life. I look forward to hearing how you make the balance work for you.

(WARNING VIOLENCE) “Stuck in the Middle” featured on Reservoir Dogs,
the 1992 movie by Quentin Tarantino

The future of learning…

What’s going on with the ‘future of work’?

Yesterday, at the Blended Learning and Technologies forum here in Auckland, we had a good chat about the future of work, and what this means for the future of learning.

We started by looking at a quick video (see below) from one of the leading researchers in this space, the World Economic Forum.

And because the a couple of the key skills highlighted for the future are continuous learning, collaboration and problem solving, we collaboratively discussed what the future of work and learning meant to each of us in each of our organisations. We talked about:

  1. What are the trends do you see shaping your workplace in the next few years?

  2. What are you excited about (or scared of)?

  3. How can corporate learning teams help everyone be ready?

What is the Future of Learning?

  1. How do you learn new skills now?

  2. What will help us learn in the future?

  3. What are you doing in your organisation to future proof your learning?

Blended Learning and Technology 2018

And we agreed there was a lot of challenge and fun ahead, and if we keep up with the way learners were expecting to learn now - e.g. quickly, just in time, right where they are, and in engaging ways - using our design thinking and user centred design techniques, then we are perfectly placed to help shape the future.

Of course we discussed much, much more. So if you want to continue the discussion, please contact me for a coffee or a phone call, as I LOVE having discussions on this topic.

And if you’re curious to read more, there are great overviews on the future of work, and learning from:

  • Bersin by Deloitte here and here.

  • Also, you can check out my website or

  • You Tube channel for more videos and links - enjoy!

  • Figure 2 below links to a great article on the future of VR in learning

Thanks for your time :-) . Have fun bringing the future into now, taking away the fear, and enabling our people to succeed.

How do we take time to reflect?

I have to laugh at myself, as an amazing book was recommended to me about a year ago, but while working full time I never could find the time to read it. Now I am enjoying some time to read, listen and reflect about the world around me before I dive back into work, I can actually read 'Thank you for being late'Thomas L. Friedman in the pause. Thank you life.

In 'Thank you for being late'Thomas L. Friedman analyses the tectonic forces creating dizzying and accelerating speed in our lives. He says time "to pause and reflect [...] increases the odds that you'll better understand, and engage productively with, the world around you." The title of the book comes from his realisation that he was grateful when friends were late to meet him for coffee, as it gave him precious time to reflect. And this was really the only way he got any time to reflect in his busy life - scary but it felt like my life too, as I'm sure it does for you.

How can we find time to pause and reflect?

How do you find time to learn?

As many people (including Friedman) say, because life is speeding up, learning is the only way we'll be able to (at least partially) keep up. I like this trend, as I love learning but even though I love it, I still find it hard to fit into my life. One of the ways I squeeze learning into my life is listening to podcasts while driving - oh the joy of multitasking in this way - sometimes I even look forward to going on a long drive to Pak n Save, to pick up my step daughter, or even being stuck in Auckland traffic - unbelievable I know.

One of my favourite podcasts recently featured Jeff Weiner talking to Oprah about compassionate leadership. Such a great point of view - imagine if we could spread compassionate leadership around the workplace. You can listen here or watch on Facebook. You can also learn more about Jeff's thoughts on Compassionate leadership from his LinkedIn course.

How do we help spread compassionate leadership?

I hope you've found some space in the pace this week, some time to pause, even if it is just speed reading this (cue deep breath now) or being stuck in traffic - enjoy!

See more at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-do-we-find-time-reflect-anna-kingston