Nimble Elearning release a 5-course 'Working from home essentials' pack to support organisations

Companies are struggling to brief their employees on the logistical, emotional and compliance considerations that they need to be aware of when working from home. The pace of policy change for working conditions has left companies without the time to fully prepare their teams for this unprecedented change.

Not Leader Development—Leadership-as-Practice Development

Leadership-as-Practice Development does not focus on training just the managers; it applies to everyone associated with the practice or project in question. There is attention to their relationship(s), their materials, and the specifics of the context in which they are working.

There is a sea change going on within the leadership field. I refer you to the new perspective on leadership referred to as leadership-as-practice (L-A-P). What makes it stand out from the other fads and movements in the field of leadership through the decades is that it detaches leadership from the individual leader and from leader competencies. The competencies unfortunately often are detached from the very sites in which they are to be applied. 

L-A-P instead sees leadership occurring as a turning point or change in trajectory in the practices by all those interconnected parties coming together to engage in a mutual endeavor. This perspective challenges our traditional views of leadership because it does not rely on the attributes of individuals nor does it focus on the dyadic relationship between leaders and followers, which historically has been the starting point for any discussion of leadership. 

So where do we find leadership? We find it in the practices in which it may be occurring.

There are several fields that have adopted the practice perspective, often referred to as the “as-practice” movements. For example, strategy-as-practice or S-A-P alters our thinking about strategy as no longer an attribute that the firm has but as something that people do. It looks to such activities as conversations, board meetings, consulting interventions, and team briefings, conducted not just by top managers but by middle managers, consultants, and business school gurus. 

What Is Leadership-as-Practice Development (LAPD)?

If the practice movement strikes you as a compatible leadership approach to the re-engineered work of the digital era, then will it not require a comparable re-engineering in the way we prepare people for participating in leadership in this era? First, it will require a shift from leader development to leadership-as-practice development (LAPD). The label, LAPD, first used by David Denyer and Kim Turnbull James—both professors at the Cranfield School of Management—does not focus on training just the managers; it applies to everyone associated with the practice or project in question. There is attention to their relationship(s), their materials, and the specifics of the context in which they are working. 

Rather than dwelling on generic leader competencies that may not apply to the setting, learning is brought into, let’s call it, “lived” (not simulated) conditions where the action is going on and where people can be found engaging with one another on particular projects. A critical learning intervention is known as work-based or action learning. Accordingly, participants intervene in their own organizational units to examine and potentially disrupt practices that have been producing less than effective results. The aim is to change patterns and thinking that could transform a culture of mediocrity to one of excellence and resilience. The resulting learning produces a collective reflection on the part of participants who are endeavoring to expand and create new knowledge while at the same time improve their practices. 

LAPD as a Response to Digitalization

Digitalization requires connectivity and information sharing, creating ties among geographically dispersed stakeholders. In this case, organizational members need to have the capacity and the trust to proceed beyond organizational boundaries. Hence, everyone needs to be released to participate in leadership. Access to information and decision-making become democratized in a world dominated by information and communication technologies (ICTs). When it comes to talent development, then, the learning needs to occur in conjunction with the practice; managers or any other trainee cannot be isolated from those doing the work.

LAPD as Response to Crises

Not only is LAPD responsive to digitalization, it is responsive to crisis conditions, as we have experienced with the Coronavirus. Since crises of this nature and magnitude constitute unfamiliar socio-environmental conditions, we need a form of leadership that can improvise around the reality that is unfolding in front of us. The improvisation cannot come from any one single leader; no one has the capacity to reconcile the complexity and uncertainty surrounding such variable conditions. Rather, we need a collective response that can work with and through the ongoing and evolving practices, as well as the relationships and materials to manage the “turning points” to meet the challenges. 

How Does LAPD Work?

LAPD requires an acute immersion into the practices that are embedded within relationships. Participants engage with one another on mutual problems, and they are offered a means of collective reflection on their experience at the right time and in the right dose to be immediately useful to them.

In accomplishing their project work, wikis and other forms of “pull” technology, along with social networking, help participants find the answers they need. Knowledge arises less from pure expertise and more from contested interaction as people improvise to solve their own problems. They acquire a situated understanding of what works, what doesn’t work, and what might work. Leadership learning, then, occurs less from a vertical transmission of instructions. In the practice world, it needs to take place laterally across those connected to each other doing the work.

Teams working on projects concurrently become “learning teams” in which the focus is on individual and collective learning rather than just on completing the task. During learning team time, participants focus on their own interpersonal dynamics while attempting to cope with the problems and practical dilemmas arising from actions in their work settings. This would include learning how to cope with the emotional, political, and ethical constraints needing to be addressed to solve the problem.

Participants also begin to rely on one another as sounding boards and deliverers of reliable feedback to help each other surface and question their own mental models. They become accustomed to novel forms of conversation that would be aimed as much at learning as at task accomplishment. How is this accomplished? 

It can be said that in LAPD the primary objective is to both figuratively and literally “catch” people immersed in their own practices. Perhaps they are facing a current dilemma in how things ought to be done. Coaches initially let them learn their way out! Then, as the conversations ensue, they might merely add a touch of reflective dialogue to change the conversation. By reflective dialogue, I refer to such practices as:

  • Engaging in deep and active listening
  • Demonstrating respectful dissent
  • Re-evaluating standard practices and values
  • Testing available knowledge
  • Disrupting existing meaning and then reframing
  • Challenging assumptions and inferences
  • Considering perspectives different from one’s own
  • Entertaining the prospect of being changed by what one learns. 

LAPD Outcomes

Although I have made the case for a practice approach through LAPD as a vital answer to the need for a more responsive and effective leadership practice, there are other more acute outcomes for those who choose to participate in this form of leadership development. In particular, participants acquire particular habits and attitudes that give rise to an appreciation of leadership as a collective or leaderful process. Along these lines, they also develop a peripheral awareness of one another and anticipate the needs of their colleagues and stakeholders. They see the value in sharing leadership—understanding that any contribution they make is likely dependent upon the contributions of others. They also begin to collaborate with a new sense of humility, not necessarily looking for agreement or for truth among those participating in a venture, but rather for mutual understanding and consideration as their projects move forward.

Joe Raelin is an international authority in collaborative leadership and learning. He is the Donald Gordon Visiting Professor of Leadership at the University of Cape Town; the Knowles Chair Emeritus at Northeastern University; and principal of the firm, the Leaderful Consultancy. See more at or reach him at:

Adopt Different Learning Styles for Different Audiences

Adapted excerpt from “Secrets of Successful Public Speaking: How to Become a Great Speaker” by M.S. Rao, Ph.D.

“Charles V said that a man who knew four languages was worth four men; and Alexander the Great so valued learning that he used to say he was more indebted to Aristotle for giving him knowledge than his father Philip for giving him life.” ―Thomas Babington Macaulay

Educators, instructors, and trainers adopt various teaching strategies and styles to address various kinds of audiences while sharing their knowledge, skills, and abilities. Some of them learned during their training; some followed their gut instinct; some learned by trial and error; some learned from their feedback; and some learned from their research. All these methods help people become good educators, instructors, and trainers. What is really required is to do research regularly to find out new teaching and training strategies and styles to suit the interests of diversified learners. 

Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic Learning Styles

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” ―Benjamin Franklin

You typically find three kinds of learners in your audience―visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners. Visual learners appreciate when the information is presented in graphs, charts, and diagrams. Hence, you must use visual aids effectively to connect with your audience members. It is rightly said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Additionally, visuals enhance retention of information for a longer time. When you want your presentation to be successful, you must blend teaching and training tools to connect with learners. 

Auditory learners understand best when information is presented in ways they can hear. You can connect with them by using good vocabulary and sounds, especially alliteration and rhymes in your language. 

Kinesthetic learners appreciate the hands-on approach of presentation. So provide activities that engage your audience members. Ask a few questions to encourage them to participate in the presentation. 

Effective presenters and speakers use all the styles to connect with all kinds of learners. They blend and balance their speech to ensure effective messages reach all learners. 

A Lesson from Crayons

Every blogger has certain goals and objectives. They post articles in their areas of interest. However, diversified readers visit the blog with their expectations. Those who are aligned with the vision of the blog or Website will visit regularly to acquire knowledge. However, the tricky thing here is to reach various visitors with similar areas of interest. It is a big challenge, indeed! As such, bloggers and Website hosts must have diversified tools and techniques to attract and retain diversified visitors in a similar area of interest without compromising their identities and brands. Similarly, every speaker has their goals and objectives. The tricky thing here is to reach all kinds of learners in the audience and make sure they come away with useful takeaways.

Someone rightly said, “We could learn a lot from crayons: Some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, while others bright and have weird names, but they have all learned to live in the same box.”

As a presenter and public speaker, you must understand that no single learning style solely works for your audience members. To succeed as a presenter and public speaker, you must understand all learning styles and apply them one after another with a passion to inspire your audience members. Lilly Walters rightly remarked, “The success of your presentation will be judged not by the knowledge you send but by what the listener receives.”

How to Prepare Slides for Your PowerPoint Presentation

“Well-designed visuals do more than provide information; they bring order to the conversation.” ―Dale Ludwig and Greg Owen-Boger 

Visuals play a crucial role during your presentations. Visuals convey a powerful message about your ideas, insights, and brand to your audience. As such, you must take immense care to create stunning visuals that connect your audience with your message. Here are some tools to help prepare your PowerPoint presentation: 

  • Be consistent with your slides. 
  • Choose colors carefully to invite the audience’s attention. 
  • Consider cultural aspects before preparing your slides. Some cultures don’t appreciate particular colors. Customize your slides as per the culture. When you address a global audience, use images and slides that reflects diversity. 
  • Break complex data into simple messages. 
  • Explore one idea per slide. 
  • Avoid using more than eight words per line or eight lines per slide.
  • Avoid using full sentences on your slides. 
  • Don’t overcrowd your slides with too much information. 
  • Use keywords to help the audience focus on your message.
  • Include images and text. 
  • Don’t decorate slides with distracting background pictures. Keep them neat, elegant, and professional.
  • Use video or audio appropriately to create curiosity and complement your message. 
  • Present your ideas in small chunks or segments and ensure that your slides are well-sequenced with a logical flow. 
  • Ask someone to check your slides for mistakes. 
  • As others for feedback and suggestions for improvement. 
  • Ensure that your presentation is compatible with the device you will be presenting it on. 

Make sure your presentation is not lengthy and complex. Slice it into small portions to make it understandable to your audience. Remember, people might forget you, but they will never forget your powerful messages if you deliver them effectively. Your images on the slides are more important than your image to your audience. Your PowerPoint can be provocative or persuasive. It all depends on how you use it.

To summarize, prepare a draft of your content. Break it into small portions. Take the idea of each portion and outline it effectively. Support it with visuals. Check the font size on your slides for uniformity. Edit it again. Ask someone to proofread it. Take a break and read all the slides again to ensure uniformity. Repeat this exercise several times to achieve excellence.

“Your slides should be a billboard, not a document!” ―Lee Jackson, “PowerPoint Surgery: How to Create Presentation Slides That Make Your Message Stick” 

Adapted excerpt from “Secrets of Successful Public Speaking: How to Become a Great Speaker” by M.S. Rao, Ph.D. For more information, visit:

Professor M.S. Rao, the father of “Soft Leadership” and founder of MSR Leadership Consultants, India. He is an international leadership guru with 38 years of experience and the author of more than 45 books, including “21 Success Sutras for CEOs” ( He is a C-suite advisor and global keynote speaker. He is passionate about serving and making a difference in the lives of others. His vision is to develop 1 million students as global leaders by 2030 ( He advocates gender equality globally (#HeForShe) and was honored as an upcoming International Leadership Guru by Global Gurus ( He developed teaching tool Meka’s Method; leadership training tool 11E Leadership Grid; and leadership learning tool Soft Leadership Grid. Most of his work is available free of charge on his four blogs, including He can be reached at:

UpsideLMS demonstrates Employee-first approach; Rolls out Remote Working for its team during COVID-19 outbreak

Staying true to its health and safety commitment to its 80 strong workforce, UpsideLMS was amongst the first organizations in Pune, India to initiate Work From Home in the wake of Coronavirus.

Leverage Learning to Reduce Turnover Risk

Companies having success with mitigating turnover have a different approach to learning overall. They are far more likely to include feedback from learners and more likely to align strategy with learner objectives.

Organizations in industries with higher-than-average turnover rates face a constant battle: How can they quickly get new employees up to speed and retain current employees? Instead of simply accepting high turnover as a routine part of business, Learning and Development (L&D) can have a huge impact on mitigating the risks associated with a rapidly-shifting workforce.

Though many organizations are challenged by high turnover, we see it most often in industries such as construction, manufacturing, health care, hospitality, food and beverage, and retail. Location and scale do not insulate these organizations, either. High-turnover companies range in size from hundreds of employees to tens of thousands, and they can have any type of geographic footprint.

The biggest training challenge is the sheer speed with which the learning must engage and impact learners. If you expand that across a large organization with a global presence, the challenge becomes that much greater, but that is not all that is at stake.

Whether the turnover rates are due to voluntary or involuntary departures, the result is often the same—a need for new workers to be running at optimum productivity quickly. High turnover also puts pressure on retaining people once they are up to speed.


Getting this wrong can damage any organization. The costs of hiring and rehiring far outpace those of training and developing successful employees—in addition to the sunk cost of training that was provided and walked out the door with departing workers. 

High turnover also has a huge impact on consistency and the organization’s ability to deliver the same level of customer experience over time and across geographies. If we look at the retail industry in particular, market demands are constantly shifting, so companies need to stay ahead. It can be difficult for traditional learning content, methods, and modalities to keep up. Learning must be more iterative and adaptive to meet the unique needs of the changing market and workforce.


When we look at companies in these high-turnover industries that say their learning approach has a positive impact on their turnover rates, we see that they are far more likely to use modern learning approaches more often than their counterparts who are unable to impact turnover rates.

Brandon Hall Group, Learner Experience Study, 2019

5 Essential Issues to Consider

  • How can organizations in high-turnover industries deliver quality training at scale?
  • How can these companies mitigate the risks associated with turnover?
  • What learning approaches make the most sense?
  • What role does technology play?

Brandon Hall Group POV

As we’ve seen, companies having success with mitigating turnover approach learning technology differently. They also have a different approach to learning overall. When it comes to the overall learning strategy, these companies are far more likely to include feedback from learners, which helps ensure a more learning-focused experience. They are also more likely to align the strategy with learner objectives.

To ensure the experience is truly contextual for learners, high-impact companies provide recommendations to learners based on things such as their role, career path, and the learning they previously have interacted with. They also give learners a link between the learning they are offered and their personal objectives. Too often, companies believe the “what’s in it for me” factor for learning is implicit, but employees who understand the connection between themselves, learning, and the business are more engaged and poised for success. These foundational elements are critical for organizations that are serious about people-centered learning.

These organizations also understand that learners need time and opportunities to reflect, reinforce, and apply the knowledge they are gaining, and make efforts to ensure these things are happening.

Brandon Hall Group, Learner Experience Study, 2019

5 Key Takeaways

  • Focus on onboarding. It’s not just about filling out forms.
  • Continue to develop people to mitigate turnover.
  • Think digital. Traditional models cannot keep up with the pace of business.
  • Leverage existing internal knowledge to boost everyone’s knowledge.
  • Shorter, faster learning does not mean lower quality.

To download a free copy of Brandon Hall Group’s 2020 HCM Outlook Book: The Future of the Employee Experience, click here.

David Wentworth is principal learning analyst at Brandon Hall GroupThe firm’s vision is to inspire a better workplace experience, and its mission is to empower excellence in organizations around the world through its research and tools. Brandon Hall Group has five HCM practices and produces the Brandon Hall Group HCM Excellence Awards and the annual HCM Excellence Conference, in West Palm Beach, FL.

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Put Your Career on the Fast Track

Are you clear about what you really want to do? Life is too short to spend most of your waking hours doing something that doesn’t really matter to you.

As an executive transition coach, I’m often asked how people should plan their career. It’s an interesting question since every case is different. For example, have you been in your job for three or more years and are ready for a change? Were you just been passed over for a promotion? Do you have a new boss who is giving you mixed signals? Did a search firm reach out and stir up your curiosity about what else might be out there? Did your company just merge creating competition for all existing roles? Are you clear about what you really want to do?

I believe the last question is the most important. If you have been in a role that no longer inspires you, and you don’t make a change, you have a long, boring career ahead of you. Life is too short to spend most of your waking hours doing something that doesn’t really matter to you. 

5 Critical Steps

1. Take time to complete executive assessments to learn more about yourself. Assessments can help you identify what you are good at, what challenges you, what work brings you the most satisfaction, and what culture aligns with your values. If your feedback report indicates a need for you to develop new skills or competencies, enroll in some courses so you become a more qualified and credible candidate. You will never make a better investment in yourself and in your career. 

2. Invest in a professional writer to add appropriate weight and sizzle to your resume and LinkedIn profile. Share your new resume with your boss and with HR so they better understand what new skills you have developed and results you have achieved for the company. They will see you in a new light and perhaps put your hat in the ring for roles you might be interested in. Additionally, you will have an up-to-date resume to share with others who inquire. Review it quarterly and add additional business results. 

3. Reach out to schedule a time to sit down with your boss to talk about your future. Make it clear that this is a career discussion, not a threat to leave the company. This will ensure the conversation is focused on what you are doing now and what you would like to do. Bring your new resume to the meeting so he or she will understand exactly what roles you would like to have and why you should be considered for certain positions. 

4. Remember that networking is important throughout your career. If you have a contact database, update the information and sort it into personal and professional contacts. Then indicate who you believe the real connectors are. Establish a regular contact schedule with them by sending a note as simple as: “Hello, ____ I hope you are well. It has been too long since we have connected and I miss seeing you. Can I buy you a cup of coffee or lunch to catch up in the next few weeks (of course, this is dependent on when the coronavirus restrictions are lifted)? I’m doing well as (role) at (company) and have enclosed my updated resume. I look forward to hearing from you.” 

5. Keep your eye on your professional goal. If you want to be the chief executive officer of a company, build a plan that connects the dots as you move up the ladder. (Remember that at every step you have to excel in the current role!) Here’s an example: If you are a marketing manager today, the likely next step will be in marketing, but it could go one of several ways. You might focus on a more technical marketing role such as digital marketing, from there to a director of marketing role and then chief marketing officer. Where do you go from there? Most companies have created a succession plan of sorts. The company might want to move you into a senior role in strategy or operations to round out your background and position you for a shot at being CEO. 

So there you are: a primer on career planning that should serve you well. Now’s the time to make it happen! 

Gail R. Meneley is a partner at Shields Meneley. Hundreds of high-profile executives in America have chosen her as their adviser and coach to advance their work and careers. They rely on her “straight talk” to help them think through their most important leadership and career decisions. As a result, their personal and organizational goals are reached sooner and with greater impact. Meneley’s clients include Allstate, Johnson & Johnson, Heller Financial, American Red Cross, McDonald’s, Baxter, Fort James, Bristol Meyers, Fleming, Galileo, Anthem Health, GE, Motorola, Quaker, CNA, R.R. Donnelley, Anheuser Busch, and Sears. As a leadership peer, Meneley has extensive P&L, strategy development, and management experience within professional services, financial services, and nonprofit sectors. She was president, CEO, and a member of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors of the Institute of Financial Education, a national financial services training organization. She also has served on the boards of public and not-for-profit corporations, including the United States League Management Services, a subsidiary of the United States League of Savings Institutions in Washington, D.C.