Friday, 9 August 2013

Development everywhere

A phrase that is forming an important part of our repositioning work is development everywhere. I've used it in the title of my blog, and I think I said that I would explain it in an earlier post. So what does it mean, and why is it important to us?

We wanted to come up with a phrase that really encapsulated what we were trying to achieve with our new offering, which we wanted to be more flexible, not relying solely on courses to attend, as well as being something that is more widely used than currently. Development everywhere was one of the first phrases we came up with. We tried adding to it, "Your development everywhere", "Development everywhere for everyone", but these didn't seem to have the same impact as the shorter version, so we went back to it.

I'll try to explain what I think it means, and why I think it is important, using a story from my experience. I started work at the University in 2004, having graduated with a degree in Philosophy in 2003. As part of my induction I had a meeting with the then Director of Human Resource Management, Rosie Valerio. Rosie asked me lots of questions about myself, my work experience, education and I'm sure plenty of other things. We talked about my degree, and what I had studied, and then she asked me a question which has stuck with me, which was "What are you doing to make sure you keep learning?" I thought for a bit, and I gave some answer (shamefully) along the lines of "I haven't really kept up with philosophy since finishing". But I had missed the point, as Rosie pointed out that we are all always learning and developing. And she is right, we don't stand still, we don't do our job or act in exactly the same way as we did last year or the year before, we change and we develop and we learn.

So how is this story relevant to development everywhere? I think this phrase is a reminder for us all as individuals to think about all the experiences we have, and reflect on how they have changed what we do. Development isn't limited to the time we spend on courses, it's about the totality of our experience and the effect it has on our action. We learn a lot from trying things out, seeing what works and what doesn't and then trying again (see my previous post What a to do...list). Our repositioned offering therefore needs to encourage people to try different things, but also to help us to remember that this is an important part of our development, and that we can learn something from everything that we do/

As I seem to be doing a lot, I'll end on a question, and it seems apt that I ask you a question that has been asked of me in the past. What are you doing to make sure you keep learning?