Productivity Coach’s Corner: Discussing Reality and the Future of Training

As you think of the future, what conversations do you need to have, with yourself and others? Find a way to invite them to the table. Bring them to your place, or go to where they are.

In February, I attended the Training 2023 Conference & Expo in Orlando (5-stars, highly recommend!). Day two of the conference at about 8 a.m., I was already standing in line to get into the ballroom, as I knew I had a lot to learn over the first 40 minutes of the event. As they opened the doors, I made my way to the front of the room. There, I sat with a diverse group of Training professionals. During one of the awkward moments of silence, I asked, “What have you felt, heard, or seen over the last day that’s still with you?” [NOTE: I started with the verb “to feel” on purpose…I can talk about that later if anyone would like.]

Waiting to hear keynoter Temple Grandin speak, our group discussed the previous day’s sessions. Though we only had about 10 minutes to talk, it was a rich AND deep conversation; I’m reminded again that with the right prompt, a group of strangers can come together quite quickly. While it’s sometimes easy to sit and wait—there’s always something I could be looking at on my phone—I stayed focused on the conversation. I wanted to come away from there with something.

3 “-alities”

The topic of conversation quickly coalesced around the topic of “reality” and the future of training and development. After a few paragraphs of discussion, I decided to listen without attempting to conclude that a reality existed, I let myself mentally hold onto three -alities:

  • “Myality” is the sense that we have perspectives based on our history and expectations. What each of us saw the day before had been filtered through our own experiences being on both sides of the training stage. While I am on stage, I know that there are different “realities” that the people I serve hold. And while I’m in the audience, I recognize that I filter what the person or people presents through what I think is, is possible, or could never be.
  • “Yourality” represents the work we do for and with each other to understand what others are thinking. Sitting at a table with four other Learning professionals, I leaned in to lead with questions instead of statements; to be more curious than I was sure. It’s important that I gain a more complete picture of what you see, so that as I continue to work with and for you, I can meet you were you are, and together we grow from there.
  • “Ourality” is the (temporary) reality that we can agree on and work toward. And, oh, is this fleeting! Think about it, I’m OK realizing that while we might get together and discuss a topic and even come to a conclusion about what it means or what to do about it, the moment we go back to our own world, we start adding to what’s possible. I’m not the same me the next time I see you as the last time I saw you.

Between the last and next time I will have felt, heard, and seen too much! The more open I am to learning what is new (at least to me) and invite in a different perspective than the one I started with, I walk away with a better, clearer, more complete picture…not a picture of what is, but a picture of what can be felt, heard, and seen.

As you think of the future, what conversations do you need to have, with yourself and others? Find a way to invite them to the table. Bring them to your place, or go to where they are. Look at your calendar and your watch, and if you have a little bit of time before you have to be somewhere or start something, ask folks to share their -alities. Let me know how it goes!
P.S.: If you haven’t heard Temple speak, or read her books, here’s a primer:

Dr. Jason Womack
Dr. Jason ‘JW' Womack is currently an instructor at Air University's Leadership Development Course at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. He is a Nationally Board-Certified Coach (BCC), co-author of "Get Momentum: How to Start When You're Stuck," and author of "Your Best Just Got Better: Think Bigger, Work Smarter, Make More."